Taiwan – Australia: Indigenous Musician’s Cultural Exchange

Artback NT, in partnership with Skinnyfish Music, has embarked on an innovative collaboration between Indigenous Taiwanese and Australian musicians. Initiated in 2016, this exciting and genuine two-way exchange program builds on relationships established during the first Artback NT and Skinnyfish Music tour of Taiwan.  These ties were further deepened during a follow-up trip to Taiwan by Producer, James Mangohig, in March 2017.

In November 2017, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to return to Taiwan!

Working with the Amis and Bunun Indigenous communities in Taiwan, the most recent tour involved:

  • members of the Bunun Children’s ChoirFuli
  • Tenmoy, an iconic Amis traditional singer
  • three members of Indigenous Tiwi Island band, B2M: Jeffrey “Yello” Simon, Shelton Murray and Darren Narul
  • Producer, James Mangohig

Presenting a unique opportunity for international Indigenous connections, the Taiwan – Australia project focuses on cultural exchange and the collaborative creation of a musical performance. The November 2017 tour saw members of Tiwi Island band B2M working together with members of the Amis and Bunun communities to explore their rich cultural connections to generate new forms of musical expression. The tour culminated in a performance of Bunun-Tiwi-Amis at the Amis Festival: Dulan, followed by a free community concert in Fuli. This performance, collaboratively borne out of regard and respect for each party’s musical inheritance, traditions and expertise, had far reaching benefits for the artists involved and the audiences, privileged to witness their work.  Read B2M band member Yello Simon’s reflection on the trip here!

The exchange also provided a range of professional development workshops in local and regional schools and facilitates industry meetings with local festival organisers, creating new pathways for Indigenous Taiwanese and Australian musicians to broaden their recognition both nationally and internationally. In November 2017 we were delighted to attend the Hualien Living Art Festival and visit Fuli Senior High SchoolLuenshang School, Fubei Senior School, and Chuentze School.

A Taiwanese documentary film crew travelled with the group for the duration of the project to capture intimate behind-the-scenes footage and the beautiful Bunun-Tiwi-Amis film is testament to the shared joy experienced during the creative development in Taiwan.

In June 2018, the Bunun Children’s Choir will travel to Australia to perform with B2M at Barunga Festival – giving Australian audiences a taste of this rich and unique cultural exchange.

We hope to tour Bunun-Tiwi-Amis in 2019. Stay tuned as this program unfolds to witness the vibrant musical outcomes of this innovative exchange!

This project is supported by the Australia China Council and the Taitung Living Art Center, Ministry of Culture


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