The Nanwan Sisters are a singing trio of close friends from
Taitung. They grew up singing the songs of their native Puyuma
heritage with another childhood friend, the award-winning
singer-songwriter Pau-dull (陳建年), who conceived and produced
this recording of both original and traditional folk songs.
The album is aptly titled — the Nanwan Sisters’ harmonies are
sublime and indeed sound as sweet as honey. Here Pau-dull
presents their voices with a sensitive ear while displaying his
talent for songwriting and composing. He penned five of the
album’s nine tracks in the Puyuma language and played nearly all
of the backing instruments, which range from percussion and
acoustic guitar to the piano and flute.
While the music is rooted in tradition and the concept is
inspired from childhood memories, the album is far from a
collection of old museum pieces. Pau-dull creates a fresh,
contemporary sound with prudently chosen and tasteful
arrangements. The acoustic guitar intro to the breathtaking and
wistful Romance of Two Rivers (雙河戀) hints at Irish folk music,
while double bass, mandolin and an accordion lend a
Mediterranean feel to Soul Sisters (姐妹花). Yet the sisters’
voices always remain the centerpiece and the melodies have a
With its warmth and intimacy, this album is very much a family
affair. Mother’s Wreath (媽媽的花環) features a chorus of voices of
Puyuma singers from Pau-dull and the sisters’ extended musical
family, including Jiajia (家家) and Leo Chen (陳永龍). The album ends
with a celebratory medley of drinking and wedding tunes, which
includes recorded excerpts of a village party where revelers
laugh and clink their rice wine glasses.
Nanwan Sisters, Honey Voices also marks a refreshing and solid
addition for TCM records, which continues to carve its niche as
a label for indie-rock and Aboriginal artists who celebrate a
musical spirit that might be described as uniquely Taiwanese.