Organised by the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia and produced by INXO Arts & Culture (L) Foundation, Tea Philo is a series of sharing sessions revolving around the discussion of philosophies and humanities. Luminaries from Taiwan are invited to share their experiences and engage with the Malaysian audience to encourage cultural exchange.
The latest Tea Philo E-talk titled ”Sangpuy’s Songs of Life and Lands: From Taitung to Malaysia and the World” features Taiwanese Indigenous Performing Artist and Singer SangpuyKatatepanMavaliyw. The E-Talk was broadcast through Tea Philo’s Facebook page from 3pm-5pm on 28th August 2021 (Saturday) and was moderated by columnist and former radio host Ng Zhi Wei.
Sangpuy was born and raised in Katratripulr, a Puyuma tribe from Taitung, Taiwan. He is known internationally for creating and performing original songs inspired by traditional tribal melodies and themes. Sangpuy shared that his music is largely about his life, and his life as an indigenous man, singer, and activist, cannot be separated from the land and nature.
He explained that Puyuma music is closely connected to the tribes’ festivals and rituals, where each song and dance is usually performed by a selected group of people with specific status or identity, since the Puyuma tribes have strict social structures.
Sangpuy’s love for music came naturally to him. His journey of music writing began in high school, and like most youngsters in the tribe, he started from writing love songs. As he grew up, he also saw the urgency of preserving the tribe’s culture and language, and of defending the fundamental rights of aboriginal people, especially their rights to lands and natural resources. Sangpuy explores themes of life, environment, cultural legacies, and the relationship between human and land in his songs and voice his concerns through music. “Making music is a part of my life. If you are mindful in your everyday life, inspiration is really everywhere.”
Sangpuy has won countless prestigious awards both locally and internationally, including the Best Aboriginal Singer (2013, 2017, 2021), the Best Vocal Recording Album (2017), and the Album of the Year (2017, 2021) at the Golden Melody Awards, the Gold Medal at the Global Music Awards (2017), and the Independent Music Awards (2018), among others. On being recognised and loved by people from his hometown and all over the world, Sangpuy expressed his gratitude for the support from his fans, his community, and all the musicians and producers who helped and inspired him along the way. “When making music, I don’t really think about ‘hitting it big’. I just listen to my heart, deliver the best I have at the moment, and try to put the things I create where they belong,” Sangpuy said.
Before ending the talk, Sangpuy wished the audience health and safety. “I will continue to work hard when inspiration hits, but let us all always remember to prioritise taking care of ourselves and one another, be mindful in each breath and step we take, find the connection between ourselves and the land we live on, and hold tight to our identities,” he concluded.