PHOTO STORY: Thousands Flock to Indigenous Music Festival in Southern Taiwan

PHOTO STORY: Thousands Flock to Indigenous Music Festival in Southern Taiwan
Photo Credit: Kenzo / The News Lens

What you need to know

Highlights from the Amis Music Festival.

The third annual Amis Music Festival, held in Dulan, Taitung County, southeast Taiwan yesterday, drew about 2,500 people to celebrate the culture and music of Taiwan’s largest indigenous tribe.

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A handful of different Amis groups from around Taiwan performed individually, and also collectively as part of several mass dance routines involving hundreds, bringing the island’s Amis people together. The event also showcased a large array of Amis food, drinks, arts, crafts and clothing.

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This year’s festival featured Yomitanson Tokeshiseinenkai (pictured below) an indigenous group from Okinawa, Japan. One of its members, Oshiro Seiji, 25, said that Okinawa’s indigenous culture was almost completely lost by the end of World War II. Today, indigenous people in Japan remain “very worried” about the future of their culture, he says. His group is working to revive the cultural practices and traditions among local people in Okinawa and lift its presence internationally, including through creating modern takes on traditional dance and music.

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The festival was held at Dulan Junior High School. Principal, Zhuo Shi-hong (卓世宏), says that more than 60 percent of the school’s 180 students are Amis. The school’s regular curriculum includes Amis language classes. During holidays, additional cultural and history courses and events are taught. He said the Amis culture and its traditions are increasingly popular among students, and cultural identity among the youth is strengthening. The students' parents, including those not of Amis decent, are “thankful” to have the school play a role in educating students about Amis cultural, he says.

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Dulan, located near the coast about 20 kilometers north of Taitung City, is a bustling village of surf- and music-focused cafés and hostels. It has become something of a “cultural center” for Amis people on the East Coast, Zhuo says. Events like the festival yesterday help attract people to the area, and boost the local economy – this weekend much of the accommodation in Dulan was sold-out. While most locals appear to be fully welcoming of the influx of tourists from around Taiwan and abroad into Dulan, several said they do have concerns about the influence of foreigners on conservative values.

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One of the event’s headline acts was well-known pianist, Huang Yu-siang (黃裕翔), who performed with event organizer and singer Suming Rupi (舒米恩·魯碧) (pictured above). Numerous other bands, including Mafana and, crowd favorite, nine-piece Rock Mama also had the crowd dancing into the night.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Kenzo/The News Lens.

Editor: Olivia Yang

Disclosure: The News Lens International’s trip to Dulan was part-funded by the event organizers.


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