Creating Space for Where Ancestors Once Walked: The Singer-Songwriter as Cultural Identity

Diane Hughes*, Sarah Keith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Using music and voice to express cultural identity is a tradition inherent in musical communities throughout the world. Today, while traditions can be affected by popular culture and modern technologies, contemporary practices in music production and aesthetics can aid in communicating and sustaining cultural heritage.Taiwan has a diverse cultural makeup being a former colonial territory and now home to descendants of mainland Chinese immigrants together with its own indigenous peoples. This article explores the music of contemporary Taiwanese indigenous singers of Amis heritage. Specifically, the music and production techniques in recordings of two female singer-songwriters, Ado Kaliting Pacidal and Ilid Kaolo, are explored.Pacidal and Kaolo combine the Amis language and themes of aboriginal identity with a range of contemporary musical styles, narratives and production techniques. For our analysis, we draw on cultural musicology in terms of lyrical and musical expression, and focus on how production techniques and aesthetics (including processing and treatment of the voice, effects and mixing) are used to enhance that expression. In doing so, we draw attention to the relationship between contemporary music production and cultural significance.We conclude by determining how space is created for 'where the ancestors once walked' (Pacidal 2012a).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Creative Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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