2. Passing the Baton – Hear, My Indigenous Sounds.
  3. A Glimpse at Present through Objects | Indigenous Music is Mainstreaming!

Written by Kuo Po-Jiun; Illustrated by Ling Jia-Dong & Top Photo Group; Translated by Ker Nai-Yu


Independent music development in Taiwan boomed in the late 1990s with independent bands and musical composition increasing rapidly. Practicing bands, taking part in competitions, and performing at various music festivals became the goal and everyday life activity of many youths. Indigenous youth with unique life experiences and cultural nurturing displayed the outstanding singing skill and passion for music cultivated growing up, reversing the general public’s imagination of indigenous peoples with their one-of-a-kind music styles. 



Guitar is the first musical instrument many young people are exposed to when they first start learning music. In addition to “cool-looking” while playing the guitar, compared to other musical instruments, the price of a guitar is more affordable to students. Just learn a few chords you can easily accompany a song, so guitar is the basic to music playing. 


Other than buying guitars and playing music, young the guitar club is also a popular campus club for young people in senior high school and university. Many bands were started by friends in the same club! 



Due to reasons including social development context and changes in the labor market structure, many indigenous families are comparatively economically challenged. Indigenous children studying away from home tend to take up part-time jobs while studying to pay for their own expenses and help relieve the financial burden at home. Award money from music competitions thus become the main goal for indigenous persons who love to sing. 


Take the Hohaiyan Independent Music Award of the Hohaiyan Rock Festival for example, attracting numerous new bands. Many occasions such as Formoz Festival, Spring Scream, and Megaport Music Festival are important music events to emerging singers/band, where they can gain exposure and increase popularity.



Whether you grew up speaking your indigenous language or started learning it at a certain stage in your life, if you identify with your own culture, you will be more motivated and empowered to tell your own story in your own language. 


Many indigenous singers have written songs in their indigenous languages describing the plight indigenous peoples since the full bloom of indigenous movement development, indigenous performers in the new generation also attempt to incorporate their indigenous languages into popular songs so that more people in the society can hear the strength in the languages of indigenous peoples. The long-accumulated musical momentum is finally given the chance to shine. Kinakaian (Mother Tongue), the electronic music album produced in the Paiwan language in 2020 by Aljenljeng was shortlisted for 8 awards in the Golden Melody award. This shows that we have gradually broke down the barrier that is language and created with music empathy transcending ethnic groups. 



Young people nowadays are used to getting information from the internet, and the YouTube media platform has also become the medium for originators to share their works. A variety of forms including music composition, talent show, travel experience, and knowledge on diverse topics can be found on YouTube. 


The rapid development of YouTube in recent years has created a new battlefield for social media platform and given rise to the new industry and ecology of Youtuber. There is no longer a need to wait for scouts to find you or take part in different competitions to gain exposure to debut. As long as you are eye-catching enough, YouTube will make you an overnight sensation! 

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