Taiwu Ancient Ballads Troupe is established by Tai Wu Primary School in Taiwu village of Pingtung County in Taiwan. The school is located in the pivotal location to the Sacred Mountain Kavulugan (North Taiwu Mountain) of Paiwan tribe (Payuan). The mission of the Troupe is: “Sing our own songs in the name of the tribe; tell our own stories in the name of music.”
In 2002, a Paiwan teacher named Camake Valaule came to teach in Tai Wu Primary School and instructed students to participate in Traditional Ballad Contest and has devoted himself to sustaining Paiwan’s traditional ballads ever since. In 2004, the Troupe started with five students. With the help of elders in dictating, singing, and recording the ancient Ulaljuc and Puljetji ballads, Camake began to train the students word by word, note by note, and tone by tone. He has compiled more than 40 ancient ballads, including love songs, nursery rhymes, worker’s songs, and festival songs. The Troupe is considered an index group of Paiwan ballads.
Taiwu Ancient Ballads Troupe was invited to perform in many countries, including the United States of America, Germany, France, Austria, Netherland, Belgium, Estonia, Switzerland, China, Japan, and Korea. The Troupe also performed jointly with Pipa (Chinese lute) Master Wu Man and Grammy Award winner, ukulele performer Daniel Ho, and was acclaimed as “The sound of nature which enables one to see the mountain and listen to the winds from the songs.” The Amazing Voice recorded by NHK, Japan won the fifth place voted by global audiences. Several albums were also released; among them,
“Vinqacan Ta Senay Nia Vuvu (Where The Songs Begin)” won five nominations and the “Best Music Interpretation Award” in The 23rd Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan., while “To and From the Heart“ won the “Best Aboriginal Album Award” in The 25th Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan.
CamakeValaule, Music Director
Camake Valaule is from Calasiu of Tjalja'avus (Danlin Tribe of Laiyi village), Pingtung. He has dedicated himself to compiling tens of ancient Ulaljuc and Puljetji ballads over the years.
Camake said, he was assigned to teach in Tai Wu Primary School in 2003. The school principal asked him to direct the singing skills of the fourth grader Lumasan, who has had a wonderful voice in singing, for the solo group of the National Traditional Ballads Singing Contest that year. Lumasan won the First Place as a surprise; she also won the First Place in the Muni Cup Paiwan Ballads Singing Contest in the same year. Since then, Tai Wu Primary School began to attract public attention.
Later, Camake began to compile from tribe to tribe and learned to sing the ancient ballads which only VuVu could sing. He then taught them to the five students in class, the preceding group of the Ballad Troupe. They received invitations to perform in various places. In 2005 they even participated in the recording of the album “The Heavenly Melodies of Tsumas (Ancestral Spirits)” which was sponsored and released by the Pingtung County Government. In 2006 the album “Singing a beautiful song” recorded by Asia Records was shortlisted in The 18th Golden Melody Award. The Troupe gradually became widely known.
Over the years, the Ancient Ballads Troupe has kept practicing, repeating, and rehearsing the singing skills Camake had instructed word by word and note by note to express vocal layers of the Troupe members.
As “To and From the Heart” won the Best Aboriginal Album in The 25th Golden Melody Awards, Carmake spoke in his award-winning speech: “The winds of Mt. Kavulungan meet the sea breezes of the Pacific Ocean. In this current trend, music gains its new warmth and a new touch, but we are still telling the same story, I am quite touched! We hope to reclaim our culture and let people witness our strength with our singing.”
With Camake and the kids’ efforts, the current Ancient Ballads Troupe has become an important index for singing Paiwan music.
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