Mei-Chuan Sang is a renowned singer and performer. She has never left her Paiwan tribe. She is the youngest child in her family and has a great age gap between her and her older siblings and due to the senior age of her parents, she only communicated with them in her native tongue. She remembers the first song her mother taught her was a love song called ‘Kinaiveljeleman’, expressing love at first sight. When she reached the schooling age, the government enforced a policy where native languages were forbidden, and often times she got punished for using her mother language.
When she got older Mei-Chuan became a teacher in her hometown, she taught the children the traditional songs and served as a tribal guide and lead singer in the festivals of her own community or of the neighboring village.
Music is important to the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples, especially to the Paiwan tribe, who love to sing. To us, music and songs not only record our daily lifestyles and express emotions, but they also record our histories, beliefs, and cultural identity. Tribal Music/ Songs are like “Roots” that absorb the nutrients from the Land in Taiwan, for those indigenous groups that do not have writing systems, music and songs are one of the most important mediums in passing down their cultural identity.
Mei-Chuan hopes her residency in the Northern Territory and work with Indigenous communities will allow her to exchange Paiwan and Aboriginal music as a basis to find common topics within the similarities and differences in music, art, and culture. Mei-Chuan will be an Artist in Residence in the Northern Territory during August – September 2018.