To the hundred years old ‘Nine-tune and eighteen-tone’ singing;
No matter professional instrumental performance or casual getting together
The Hakka melodies are always affecting and moving.
【Hakka Opera】Cheng Mei-mei
Cheng Mei-mei, 1904 ~ 1967, Miao-li City. She followed an old artist, Liang A-chai, Learning ‘Hakka Opera’, and soon became famous for her talents and won herself the reputation as ‘Hakka Opera’. When grew p, she married a man, Chen Chin-song, who was, according to the tradition, more an adopted half-son to her parents. Later, she and her husband who was also from a traditional family troupe of ‘Ba Yin’(eitht categories of musical instruments: huchin, gongs, cymbals, drums, trumpet huchin, bamboo flute, suona horn and four-string Chinese zither (yeh-chin)), organized a traveling ‘Hakka Opera’ troupe, and performed around various Hakka towns. After the restoration of Taiwan from Japanese governing, she furthermore established ‘Chin Mei Yuan’ Hakka opera troupe, specialized in grand shows for the occasions of god worshiping and heavenly peace entreating. She traveled around Taiwan, busying with her performance, and produced numerous phonograph records. She died in 1967, left countless artistic contributions and beautiful memories of ‘Hakka Opera’ to the society.
【Hakka Opera】Zeng Hsian-chi
Zeng Hsian-chi, 1932~, Long-tan, Tao-yuan County. He was enlightened by his uncle, Wei Jian-ying, with ‘Hakka Opera’ performance, and started learning performing when he was only 11 years old. When at the age of 18, he joined ‘Hsin Sheng Yuan’, learning performance and management. ‘Chu Sheng Yuan’ in Chutong recruited him when he was 21, and he was famous for being a ‘Hakka Opera’ buffoon of the time. While at the age of 28, he, along with his old friends, Mr. & Mrs Chen Huo-tian, started their own business and traveled around Hakka towns performing and selling medicines. Since the age fo 45, he co-established ‘Hsiao Mei Yuan’ with some other people. For being competitive in the annual traditional Hakka drama contests, he started his play-writing career. After years of practice, he has become an excellent Hakka drama performing instructor and playwright.
【Ba Yin】Chen Chin-son
Chen Chin-son, 1915~1985, Miao-li City. When he was little, he learned from his father, Chen Fen, the skills of playing trumpets, drums, string instrument, ‘Bei Kuan’ play and ‘Nine-tune and eighteen-tone’ singing. At the age of 10, he once traveled and performed with a performing troupe, and later followed Huang Tin-fen and learned ‘Ba Yin’ and Buddhist music from him. After the restoration of Taiwan, he joined ‘Luan Tan’ (a performance of multiple music form) troupes, such as ‘Hsin Long Fen’ and ‘Nan Hua Sheng’ for about 5 years before he returned to Miao-li to establish his own family ‘Ba Yin’ troupe. Since them, he led the team performed in Yun-lin, Kao-hsiong, Pin-tong, Hua-lian, Tai-tong and Taipei. He is hornored as a Hakka ‘Ba Yin’ master.
【Ba Yin】Cheng Sui-huo
Chen Sui-huo, 1928~, Miao-li City. At the age of 16, he followed his father, Chen Chin-son, learning ‘Ba Yin’ and string musical instruments, and later continued with the study of ‘Bei Guan’ play ( a general term for none Fukein and Hakka traditional operas spreading out to Taiwan in Ching Dynasty, usually loud and uproarious) and ‘Nine-tune and eighteen-tone’ singing. While in his early 20s, he concentrated himself on Buddhist music and Taoist music study and joined his father’s ‘The Chen’s Bei Guan Ba Yin Troupe’. He performed in most Hakka communities and is the first trumpeter (suona horn player) in the troupe; meanwhile, he also performed with very many other Hakka opera troupes. He is now one of the most excellent and rare master Hakka traditional musicians, and often attends governmental and non-governmental seminars as an instructor.
【Hakka Junior Amateur Performing Troupe】Fen Yang-chen
Fen Yang-chen, 932 ~, Guan-si, Hshin-chu County. He first started his discipleship under his uncle, Chiu Ye, at the age of 13. When he was 16, in the year of 1948, he joined ‘Hsin Le Yuan’ Hakka opera troupe, but only the next year, he was summoned back to Chiou-lin by his father and worked as a farmer. Since then, he didn’t habe chances to perform until he came to Song-san, Taipei, aged 29in 1961, to make a living. He became famous for being quick-witted in composing and singing. In 1974, he was invited to Hsin-dian City and Pei-tou to teach ‘Ba Yin’; and furthermore, in 1998, he established ‘Yang Sheng Junior Ba Yin Amateur Performing Troupe’ with Zeng Rong-mei, and performs in each Hakka festivals and funerals and has won himself tremendous honor.
【Hakka Folk Songs】Lai Pi-hsia
Lai Pi-hsia, 1929~, Chu-tong, Hsin-chu County, and was the second prize winner of ‘The Global Chinese Culture & Arts Award’. She learned her performing art from Guan Lo-chen and Lai Tin-han, and was instructed by two famous performers, Su Wan-son and A Yu Dan, who influenced her career, she specialized in folk songs and Hakka Opera, and has been invited to perform in very many national and international concerts, as well road shows in each communities and campuses. She has produced more than 70 phonographic records, and also wrote the play and sang for the Hakka movie ‘Tea Plantation Love Songs’ in the 1970s. Her writings include ‘The Heritage of the Taiwanese Hakka’ and etc.
【Hakka Folk Songs】Hsu Mu-chen
Hsu Mu-chen, 1944~, Chion-lin, Hsin-chu County. He contracted measles when he was one year old, and as a result, he ecame totally blind and lost his hearing of his right ear. Before the age of 20, he learned singing all by himself, and later joined different traveling medication vendor groups and traveled to many Hakka towns, performing while selling medicines. At the age of 20, he followed Huang Rong-chian learning huchin and ‘Nine-tune and eighteen-tone’ singing; and when at the age of 30, he learned string musical instruments and flute from Fen-jian Hsin-si. Even though he later studied and practiced bone-touching fortune telling, he never forgets to take part in Hakka folk song contests and won very many prizes. During 1995 and 1996, he performed in a road show both in Taiwan and the states. He was the winner of the 6th ‘The Global Chinese Culture & Arts Award’ in 1998.
Lin Bin-huan, 1928~, Nei-pu, Pin-tong County. In 1937, Lin Bin-huan passionately returned to Pin-tong from Hsin-chu to attend a demonstration, but was arrested. He was jobless after being released, and had to stay in his hometown. In 1949, he, by chance, was accepted by famous Hakka performer Zhuo Chin-yun as disciple, and started his road show career. Due to year-round traveling to the Hakka towns, and to fit the diverse requests of the audiences, he learned all kinds of folk songs, nursery rhymes and witty talk as possible he could, and furthermore combined them into his own unique performing style. He is known as the ‘walking dictionary’ of Hakka arts.
Yang Hsiu-heng, 1939~, Mei-nong, Kao-hsiong County. He started his career, at the age of 13, in Pin-tong’s ‘Hua Mei Opera Troupe’ learning Taiwanese opera. After two years of learning and performing matrial role and horse servant, he started to perform ‘leading young man’. When he was 19, he joined ‘Sheng Yi Yuan’ opera troupe, concentrated in learning ‘buffoon’. Since married at the age of 20, he started his career as a road show performer. He then established ‘Yang’s Martial Art House’ with his wife Hsu Shu-mei, and traveled through Taiwan together engaged with their performance. He was famous for his excellent skills of ‘Che-gu Play’ (one buffoon and one pretty girl) and folk song. In the 1980s, he was discovered by famous musician Hsu Chang-huei, and since then, he was introduced to national art performances, and was awarded as the best folk art performer by Kao-hsiong County in 1998.