Taiwan group shines at international a cappella competition

Taiwan group Gili Singers won first place in the Jazz category of the International A Cappella Competition Graz July 18 in Austria for their contemporary take on traditional aboriginal songs.

The four-member group topped competitors from Austria, Georgia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to claim the honor, marking the first time a participant from Taiwan has earned the top prize in the Jazz category of the event. As victors in their classification, they will sing at the winners' concert July 21 at the Dom im Berg in Graz.

For their set, Gili Singers performed jazz versions of Sinramat and Swa I Yan, traditional songs of the Atayal people, one of Taiwan's 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes. They also offered the audience brief introductions to the meanings of these works, noting that the former conveys blessings to faraway friends while the latter describes the sadness of separated lovers.

The group's diverse set also featured I Want You Back by the Jackson 5, Almost Like Being in Love, a popular American track associated with Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and Mas que Nada, a well-known Brazilian song originally performed by Jorge Ben Jor.

Founded in 2014, the a cappella group is named for an Atayal onomatopoeia gili, which describes the sound made by traditional weaving machines used by the tribe. According to the singers, the word symbolizes their desire to weave their love for the arts into their music and share the beauty of Atayal songs with the world.

Gili Singers is no stranger to world-class a cappella competitions, winning golds at several events last year including the Bohol International Choir Festival and Competitions in the Philippines, Hong Kong International A Cappella Festival and the World Contemporary A Cappella Competition in Taiwan.

The International A Cappella Competition Graz, also known as vokal.total, is staged annually in the Austrian city. Judges award gold, silver and bronze diplomas to participants in each category before choosing the first, second and third place winners from among the gold diploma recipients.

Source: Taiwan Today