A lawyer, an acoustic singer and an Aboriginal duo on Saturday won awards in an annual songwriting competition that promotes Taiwan’s native languages.
Thirty compositions, 10 for each category, were chosen from 215 pieces for the finals of the Taiwan Music Composition and Songwriting Contest, which is in its 16th year, the Ministry of Culture said.
In the Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) category, 49-year-old Su Ming-yuan (蘇明淵), who is a lawyer, beat his competitors who performed hip-hop, rock and soul songs in the most widely spoken language in Taiwan other than Mandarin.
Accompanied by a cello, harmonium and set of drums, Su played an acoustic guitar while he sang his winning composition, Wu Ken Te Jih Tou Hua (無根的日頭花), which can be translated as “Sunflower Without Roots.”
The song tells of his personal story, Su said.
As a child, he grew up in Kaohsiung and went to Taipei to study law after graduating from high school.
Even though he has settled down in Taipei, the song describes his reminiscence for his hometown, he said.
“We all know that the sunflower continues to face the sun even if you cut off its roots,” he said. “So my heart is like a sunflower, it still feels for my hometown.”
In the Hakka category, 25-year-old acoustic guitar singer Chen Yen-chu (陳彥竹) reclaimed the title after winning it in 2017.
Her winning song, Niang Hua Pai Pai (娘花白白), which was performed as a solo, was written for her grandmother, who told her that the spirits of her late grandfather and uncle have been visiting the family’s farmland in Chiayi this year in the form of two black drongo birds.
In the indigenous languages category, a duo called Vusum Hana performed an upbeat and funky song named Jia Pe La (甲呸辣), which was not originally an Aboriginal term, but is used in the community to describe a person who takes advantage of friends by eating and drinking free of charge when they come to visit.
The duo, 27-year-old Suyu (林忠培) and 25-year-old Vulu (呂傑), cousins from a Paiwan community in Pingtung County, said the song is based on their observations of the people around them.
“We indigenous people have a culture where we share things, but sometimes the people who we share things with take it for granted and take advantage of people,” Suyu said.
“However, the song was not intended to create negativity, because the lyrics say: ‘I take advantage of you and you take advantage of me, but we are still very good friends,’” Vulu said.
The winners were given a cash prize of NT$300,000 each.
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