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Nibun Chorus Shines Again on the International Stage

Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus
Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus

【◎Written by Luo Jian-hong ◎Translation by Lin Yu-ciao ◎Photos by Carter ◎Photos courtesy of Nibun Chorus 】

 In July 2023, the Nibun Chorus(尼布恩合唱團)from Kaohsiung's Liouguei District(六龜)was awarded its second Gold Medal at the World Choir Games(世界合唱大賽)in the open competition. The members, mostly from the Pingpu and Bunun tribes, performed original works adapted from ancient tribal melodies. Their first gold medal was also at the World Choir Games in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus
Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus
 The chorus, founded in 2017 by conductor Chen Jyun-jhih(陳俊志), has approximately 70 members. The group meets at the Nibun Learning Center(尼布恩學堂)for monthly rehearsals. Many who live far away come back to their hometown specifically for the monthly rehearsals.

Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus
Photo courtesy of Nibun Chorus
 The name "Nibun," which means “teeth” in the Bunun language, was given to the group by conductor Chen Jyun-jhih due to his lifelong profession in dentistry. He had originally practiced in downtown Kaohsiung but moved to Liouguei fourteen years ago after being invited to serve as a choir instructor for several schools around Liouguei. He fell in love with the area and relocated his clinic there. He also established the Nibun Humanities and Education Care Association(尼布恩人文教育關懷協會), which provides local students with study spaces and free tutoring. The Nibun Chorus is run through this association.

Photo by Carter
Photo by Carter
 The chorus is comprised of young people who love singing. They also support each other in excelling in other interests and educational pursuits. The chorus operates like one big harmonious family. When senior members achieve their academic dreams, it thus inspires younger members to believe in themselves. Chen Jyun-jhih explains that these close-knit relationships create a powerful energy on stage, which is why Nebun differs from other choruses.

Photo by Carter
Photo by Carter
 In preparation for this year's World Choir Games in New Zealand, the Nibun Chorus will adapt traditional Hakka songs from the local Liouguei Sinwei community. These songs have a unique Sinmingjhuang Tone (popular in folk melodies). The chorus plans to invite local elders to perform the original songs so the youth will better understand these ancient melodies. The chorus will then reinterpret and breathe new life into the music. Mr. Chen's initiative aims to showcase the beauty of Taiwan's music, where they hope to excel again on the international stage.

Nibun Chorus 尼布恩合唱團

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