Suming, Taiwanese Amis Musician (by Benedict Young)


Suming, Taiwanese Amis Musician (by Benedict Young)
Peace and Music in Dulan: Part 1
Suming is a musician of the Taiwanese Amis people. With his modern musical fusions of Amis music and electronica, rock, and folk, he has achieved international recognition, being particularly well-liked in neighbouring Japan.

Suming is far more than only a music-maker, he is a well-loved member of his community and someone who does his all to promote Amis culture to the outside world.

He aims to use music to instill pride in small rural Amis villages such as Dulan where he was raised and to bring money and jobs to the community.

About the Photos
The photos were shot in the run up to a special one-off music festival Suming put on in the Amis village of Dulan and accompany an interview of Suming by Mata Taiwan about the festival.

LOCATION: Kafka by the Sea, a well-known underground music cafe and live venue in Taipei, where Suming and his band were due to play later that evening. The walls are decorated with images of the classic musical innovators and rebels of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The air is filled with the smell of fresh coffee and the tunes are eclectic and well-picked. A well-stocked library of music and art books also offers clientele the chance to exercise their right to chin stroke whilst sipping an espresso and enjoying the music selection.

COMPOSITION: The watermelon and Woodstock book were introduced as compositional elements. Dabs of red at the bottom of the frame that stand out against the grey blue composition with shapes that lead the eye back to the subjects face (guitar, triangles).

SYMBOLISM: Along with the photos on the wall, the reference to Woodstock hints at how Suming and his music festival exist outside of the mainstream, but they long for the world to listen and hope their music can change some people’s point of view.
The meaning of the watermelon comes from a story that Suming tells.

Suming’s mum says the meaning of a watermelon is sharing – because one is so big you couldn’t possibly finish it all by yourself.

Suming would wonder “so, what does a mango mean mum?” “what about a grape, what does that mean?” … “nothing son” she’d say with a roll of her eyes “they’re just fruit” – Suming wants to share the music and the culture of Taiwan’s Amis people with the world before it is too late. Incidentally, there is also a track on his latest EP entitled “西瓜” – “Watermelon” in honour of this story.


Camera: Leica M-E
Lenses: Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2, Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8


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