Popularising native culture

THE reality is that the indigenous tribes are usually not represented in the mainstream culture.

But this week, the indigenous peoples of Malaysia and Taiwan will be in the limelight during the Sounds of Nature: Taiwan and Malaysia’s Aboriginal Music Festival.

Organised by the government information office of the Republic of China through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office here, the event features a series of activities in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching in Sarawak.

Representing the Taiwanese aborigines are Samingad Chi Hsiao-Chun and Am Family, whose members belong to the Puyuma, Amis and Bunun tribes.

From the local front, Tuku Kame the Sarawakian band and Kumpulan Chenloi, which is made up of Semai tribe members, will be performing their music.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia information division director Peggy Chou said the event was part of a three-country tour by Samingad and Am Family. They will also be performing in Thailand and Australia.

“Because of their commercial popularity, Taiwanese popstars such as SHE, Jay Chou and Fahrenheit are well known in the region even without assistance from the government.

“However, the indigenous culture may get lost over time without efforts to keep them alive.

“There is more to be done than just dancing and singing for the tourists in the cultural villages,” she said.

She added that this event was a cultural exchange between the native people of both countries.

AiFM deejay Chong Keat Aun, who assisted Chou’s office to put the event together, spent six days in Taiwan with the indigenous musicians.

For those in Sarawak, here are the dates to look out for to catch the performances: Thursday from 2pm-4pm, aboriginal music demonstration at Sarawak Cultural Village and Friday from 7.30pm-9pm, concert Sounds of Nature from Two Islands: Samingad and Am Family and Tuku Kame at Kuching Civic Centre.

In Kuala Lumpur, all events will be held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

Samingad and Am Family will be performing with Kumpulan Chenloi on Saturday from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Dr Chan Cheong Jan from the Music Deparment, Faculty of Human Ecology of Universiti Putra Malaysia will join Chong in a seminar on aboriginal music tomorrow from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Raman Batuin, a Semai, will share photos of the Semai culture on Thursday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

On Friday (7pm - 9pm) and Saturday (2pm - 3.30pm and 4pm - 6pm), six films on the natives will be screened.

An exhibition featuring the traditional attire, handicrafts and paintings of the indigenous people will also be held from today until Saturday.

Admission is free for all events but tickets are needed for the Friday and Saturday performances.

For tickets and enquiries, call Taipei Economic and Cultural Office at 03-2168 8722 or KLSCAH at 03-2274 6645.

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