Taipei, Paraguayan musician Roberto Zayas captured one of 19 Golden Melody Awards for traditional arts and music in Taiwan handed out Saturday, earning recognition for his religious album that he hoped can connect more people through the love of God.
Zayas was among several performing artists, playwrights, lyricists, composers, sound engineers, and performing arts groups to win an award at a ceremony held at the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center in Taipei on Saturday.
Though the awards still carry the Golden Melody Awards name, they have been held separately from the Golden Melody Awards ceremony (known as Taiwan’s Grammys) since 2014 and are now held under the auspices of the National Center for Traditional Arts.
One of the top prizes Saturday, for Best Religious Album, was awarded to the 11-track music album “Dance With The Light,” which consisted of melodies played and arranged by Zayas.
The jury praised the album for allowing listeners to feel a rich religious atmosphere in a calm and relaxed mood, while presenting peaceful characteristics of religious music through outstanding performance skills.
“The goal of doing this album is so that people can appreciate the beautiful melody composed a long time ago by great masters and people who have been touched by God,” said the Paraguay-born and Argentina-raised Zayas, who has lived in Taiwan for 37 years.
Zayas hoped that the album could provide listeners with a certain connection with God, he said.
Soon to accept an invitation by Taiwan’s government to become Taiwanese, which will make him a dual-citizen, Zayas said he hoped that Taiwan and Paraguay could be more connected culturally.
“They (people in Paraguay) know Taiwan as a beautiful country but the culture part they know very little, and I wish they can know more. The same thing in Taiwan, I hope the connection becomes closer and the ties even more solid,” Zayas told CNA.
Paraguay has had diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1957 and is the nation’s only ally in South America among its 15 worldwide.
Singaporean Sister Karen Theresa Eng of religious congregation Daughters of St. Paul, who were one of the executive producers of the album, said she hoped that when people listen to the album they will feel the love of God.
“The music from the album will really make you feel you are surrounded (by love) and accepted,” she said.
The award for Best Traditional Album, meanwhile, was won by record company Poem Culture Corp. for the album “Liao Chiungchih’s Vocal Aesthetics” made by nationally revered Taiwanese opera artist Liao Chiung-chih (廖瓊枝).
The album, sung by Liao and accompanied by traditional musical instruments, stands out for its narration of the compassion of the Buddhist bodhisattva, the jury said.
The award for Best Art Music Album was won by Taiwanese conductor Lu Shao-chia (呂紹嘉) for the album “Shao-Chia Lu & NSO.”
A representative who collected the award on Lu’s behalf said Lu was currently overseas and was unable to personally collect the award.
The jury commended the album for its unique personality that seemingly portrayed the warmth of Austronesian cultures.
Lu’s critical conducting was able to bring out the full performance and agility of the orchestra, the jury said.
The Best Crossover Music Album award was won by traditional instrument Yangqin player Lo Cheng-hun (羅正楎) for his album “Voyager.”
The album combines Chinese and Western instruments to present Asian and Eastern European music styles, while also highlighting bright and fresh music played by the Yangqin to create charming and relaxed melodies, the jury said.
The Best Audiovisual Album was given to Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe for the production “Portrait of Hell.”
Soprano Luo Hwei-jan (羅惠真) won best Best Vocal Performance for her album “Samsara of Seasons — Hwei-Jan Luo Lieders, Chansons & Chinese Verses Chanting,” in which the jury said Luo blended Western and Chinese singing into her own unique and natural singing style.
Guitar player Su Meng-feng (蘇孟風) and violinist Li Yi-chin (李宜錦) garnered Best Instrumental Performance for their album “Cantabile,” while Huang Ke-nung (黃可儂) was named Best Album Producer for “Samsara of Seasons.”
Composer Tseng Chung-Ying (曾仲影) and traditional arts researcher Tseng Yung-yi (曾永義) each received special awards for their contributions and achievements in the fields of traditional artistic audio publishing and theatrical performing arts, respectively.
The Best Performer in a traditional theatrical performance was won by Chu An-li (朱安麗) for her role in “Phaedra,” while the Best New Artist award was clinched by Su Kuo-ching (蘇國慶) for his performance in “Portrait of Hell.”
A total of 643 works from 69 artists and groups, 45 in the publishing category and 24 in the theatrical performance category, were submitted to the awards this year, down from 1,078 works from 102 artists and groups, including 71 in the publishing category and 31 in the theatrical performance category, submitted last year.
The decline was most noticeable in the music production category, in part because of the awards’ entry submission rules, which require music to be produced on CDs or records, whereas many recordings have gone digital.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel