Popular Music
[Tshai Men-fu] [Hsieh Yu-wei] [Luo Kuo-li] [Yen Chih-wen] [Chen Yung-tao] [Liu Ping-fang] [Lim Sen-siong]


Tshai Men-Fu

Tshai Men-fu, musician from Taitung in eastern Taiwan, now lives in Taipei. He modestly claims to use a tape recorder to record his inspiration insead of claiming expertise in playing instruments. He then arranges each song before releasing it. Among the younger generation of Hakka song writers, he has a diversified compositional style. From cutting-edge punk and reggae to popular nakashi melodies, he produces results that satisfy. "A nickname given by Auntie" celekrates a nickname given the songwriter by a younger sister of his father that evokes memories from his youth. Only after completion of the song do we learn that the name was actually given to him by his mother. The sentimental lyrics and melody match his resonant, yet languid, voice to produce a song loved by the younger generation of Hakkas.
A Nickname Given by Auntie
This song comes from the album Different People. The lyrics reflect the experience of modern people who have left home for a better life yet retain feelings of permanent ties to their hometown, its people, and events. This song stirs warm memories.

Released in 1991, rights are held by Hanhsing Broadcasting Co.


Hsieh Yu-wei

Hsieh studied art in college, and his creations then were worth a great deal of money. When he thinks of how simple Taiwan's society was during his childhood years, the materialism, superstition, and mammon of life more than twenty years later elicits a yearning for the past. Folk songs popular on campuses for more than twenty years nearly died out during Hsieh's college years, but the creative style of college and university students had already shifted from folk-music accompanied by an acoustic guitar to rock and roll music. However, nowhere was the indigenous sound of Taiwan's culture heard.
Divination Song
This song comes from the album I am Hsieh Yu-wei. It is the first modern Hakka song released in the Taiwan area sung in the Hailu subdialect of Hakka. This tune was an attempt to use folk music to overturn the ubiquity in popular music circles of jazz, blues, and Western fusion. The most beguiling aspect of this recording is the way that the lead singer modulates his voice in a natural tone to match the effect.

First release in June 1992, the rights are held by JuiHsing Record Company. It was then recorded in 1995 with production by Shuich'ing Sound Productions and release by UFO Enterprises, Ltd. in Hsieh Yu-wei's individual album. It was reissued by Shuichi'ing Sound Productions in March of 1999.


Luo Kuo-li

Luo Kuo-li is the lead singer of the band "Never Say Die", or " Ngang-Kiang" in Hakka dialect. He is the lyricists and composer of the band's album. He desires to create a new Hakka music and pave the way for his own band. Although his lyrics are somewhat shallow, given the limitations of his age and life experience, the efforts of this first band to exclusively perform and issue modern Hakka songs in the Taiwan area are worth recognizing and encourgaging.
Mountain Song Rock'n Roll
This song is one of the pricipal cuts from the album Remembrance of Winter That Year. The lyrics reveal the 'Never Say Die' Free-Flow Band's plan to fuse the rock and roll music that young people adore with the flavor of mountain songs, indicating that younger Hakka people are struggling to strike a balance between modernity and tradition. They are anxious not to forget their roots, yet try hard their utmost to absorb the modernity they see all around them.

Released in January 1997, Lanya AV Bradcasting Co., Ltd.


Yen Chih-wen

Yen Chih-wen, who has always been engaged behind the scenes musical work, studied art in college. He then went to the US to study music theory and graduated from the Berkeley Contemporary Music Academy. He participated in recording the score for Hou Hsiao-hsien's movie, "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" and tried his hand at composing Hakka music before discovering a strong desire to return to composing in his native dialect. After a good response to his first Hakka album, he formed the Mountain Dog Big Paw Band and continued to promate music with those of similar interests. He transformed his memories of his home town (Hsinpi, Pingtung) long ago into the impetus for modern life and composition. These, along with his use of expressions from southern and northern Taiwan, give his works a profound humanity rarely seen among young composers.
Early Autumn Taipei
This song is from his first album Who is Singing Mountain Songs there? The entire album consists of carefree plantation melodies that have won praise from reviewers and average listeners alike. This one is a love song. A boy is waiting for his girlfriend in Taipei in the early autumn. He feels cold becuase of the early autumn, just like his heart feeling cold becuase he cannot find his girlfriend.

Abandoned Gardern
This song illustrates an abandoned garden. There is no one there. Only a cat which nobody cares about and weeds are there. Many people in Hakka towns leave for the city for a better life, so there are many abandoned houses in the town. This song just describes this phenomena.

May I Ask?
This song is about a person who has left his hometown for a long time. When he finally went back, he could not find his way home. So he asked people there where the old tree was, why there was no water in the river. Why everything has been changed.

First released in April 1997, Yushantikou Co, Ltd.


Chen Yung-tao

Chen Yung-tao comes from Nanmen Khanhsia, Kunhsi, Hsinchu. He completed some compositions while performing military service, but unfortunately, his compositions of that period have been lost. A free spirit, who loves and loves to live with the nature, he was originally worked in the field of ecology and experimented with pottery. He began learning the guitar in 1996 and then devoted himself to composing Hakka songs in his 40s. Along with his unconventional liftstyle, he prefers to live in the countryside far from urban areas and his songs thus have a pronounced countery flavor.
Past Events
This song records the events of the composer's childhood in Taiwan's agricultural society of 30 years ago, which is nativist lyrics bring to life. This makes listeners of 40 or 50 years of age feel like they have been transported back in time. When you hear Chen Yung-tao's song, with its lively slang and folk-song melody, every cell in your body will stir to each beat of the music, and you will long that simpler time. This natural, unfettered, and pointed, but not sarcastic, song has been made even more profound in Yen Chih-wen's arrangement. A cut from the album of the same name, it is the first Hakka song composition in the Hailu dialect. This is a powerful draw for those who speak that dialect as a native language, but rarely get to hear it in song.

First released in November 1997, Yushantikou Co, Ltd.


Liu Ping-fang

Liu Ping-fang is not a composer or lyricist. She is a famous singer in the Hakka society. Her sweet smiles has attracted many young Hakka people. She is most famous with her love songs, but she has also sung some encouraging songs as well.
The photograph is from her album "Growing Up"
The Spirit of Hakka
This is a very famous song. It is usually sung in rallies. It is written by a famous Hakka composer Tu Min-heng who died in May, 2000 becuase of a car accident. This song first tells the difficulties the ancestors of Hakka people met when they first came to Taiwan, then it asks the Hakka people now not to forget their own language and good spirits.

My Heart Hurts
This is a love song written by Zuo Zheng. The composition and lyrics of this song is like madarin popular music. It is a new way of Hakka popular music.

These songs are collected from albums released by Hanhsing Broadcasting Co.


Lim Sen-siong

Lim Sen-siong is famous for his actions against the Meinung Dam. His music is full of love for the nature and his hometown, Meinung. The Taiwan government wanted to build a dam in Meinung, so people there started a movement to act against it. Lim Sen-siong is one of them. He uses his music to act aginst the dam. His songs won the Golden Melody Prizes in 2000. He now has a band called "Chiao-kung" band.
Farmer
This song talks about his father, who is a farmet in Meinung. His father works hard everyday, but is still poor. So his father asked him not to be a farmer again.

Meinung Mountain
This song is about the Meinung mountain located in Meinung. There are farms, trees, and beautiful scenes under the mountain. The ancestors of Meinung people worked very hard to construct Meinung, so it should not be destructed under the hands of people now.

Ha-Tam-Sui River Recorded Our Family Tree
This song is a combination of Hakka Mountain Songs, Eight-Tone and modern music. This song is about the history that how Meinung is found and constructed. Part of the lyrics were written a few hundred years ago by the first Hakka people who arrived Meinung.

Let Us Sing Mountain Songs
This song is used in the actions against Meinung Dam. They sung this song in front of the Legislative Yuan. They want to sing Mountain Songs there to encourage themselves.

Released in 1997 and 1999, Chiao-kung Band.


[Return to the main page]