Qiu Maojing, MA student, Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University
A native of Miaoli County’s Toufen, Huang Lianyu (1960- ) is a graduate of United Vocational College’s Mechanical Design Group (today’s National United University Department of Mechanical Engineering). After finishing school Huang spent several years in the working world before electing to pursue a career in music and songwriting. A chance meeting with musician Bobby Chen in a bar led to the formation of the New Treasure Island Band in 1992. The groups wrote and sang songs in Hakka, Taiwanese, and Mandarin, turning out a string of hits in the post-martial law era. Following the band’s rise to prominence, Huang Lianyu songwriting abilities successfully propelled the Hakka language into Taiwanese music circles, carrying on the tradition of Wu Shenzhi (1944-1983), an earlier Hakka music pioneer.
Huang Lianyu left the New Treasure Island Band after the release of their fourth album in 1996, citing artistic differences with Chen Sheng as the reason for the breakup. Huang subsequently drifted away from the music world, going into business for a number of years. After a decade-long hiatus he released Banana (2007) his first solo album. The disc was name “Best Hakka Album” and Huang Lianyu “Best Hakka Vocalist” at that year’s Golden Melody Awards. In what is perhaps an effort to make up for his years away from music, Huang has since released three other solo albums, Only Love (2008), The Twelfth Month Ancient One (2009), and A Road of Hill Songs (2014). Testament to Huang’s musical talents, the records garnered wide critical acclaim.
A Road of Hill Songs won the 5th Annual Golden Indie Music Awards Critics’ Pick Prize (2014), and “Best Hakka Vocalist” and “Best Album” honors at the 26th Annual Golden Melody Awards. The record is the product of Huang’s excursions to Hakka communities in China and Taiwan, blending elements of the blues with his own cultural background. Lyrics are a mix of traditional Hakka “hill songs” 1 and colloquial language set to bluesy music, the synthesis creating “contemporary hill songs.” One of the cuts on the album, “Offering to the Little House” (originally titled “Offering to the Old House”), was originally released on YouTube and dedicated to the victims of the 2013 Dapu Incident. 2 The song “No Need For That” deals with the conflict between Hakka and Mandarin, the lyrics a direct attack on official language policies: “Brothers and sisters / Proudly speak our Hakka tongue / Hill songs must be sung / And only then will our hearts be content.” The song expresses Huang Lianyu’s deep feelings for the Hakka language and people.
|Related Literary Themes：||Vernacular Poetry: Holo and Hakka|