In 1999, AMIS Kakeng Musical Group came into being on the breezy east coast of Taiwan, which is home to several Amis tribes. With the help of traditional literatures and tribal elders, Sawtoy Saytay, the founder of the Group, managed to recreate Kakeng, the once lost traditional percussion instrument of Amis. Kakeng, literally “bells of bamboo”, was the traditional instrument that the Amis people once used to announce wedding news. Through the joyous sound of Kakeng, the Group wishes to share with its audience their love for music and their tribal tradition.
Drawing inspirations from ancient melodies that tribal elders would hum sometimes, the group started out with tribal folk music and later incorporated more percussions and more young members, finding the perfect balance between the traditional and the modern. It is also the band’s vision to help cultivating cultural awareness among the tribal youth, bridging gaps between different generations, and establishing a culture of sharing and mutual support.
Over the years, Amis Kakeng Musical Group has become a distinctive artistic voice with traditional elements and new interpretations. In 2012, the Group’s album, Ina’s Childhood, was notated for Best Indigenous Album at the Golden Melody Awards and has been recognized with numerous music awards. In 2013, the Group came in first place in the category of World Percussions of the National Percussion Competition. In addition to their extensive performing experience in Taiwan, the Group has been invited to perform around the world and has visited America, Europe, Oceania, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Austronesian countries. As Kakeng’s unique sound touches the soul of people around the globe, the world is gradually recognizing and falling in love with the diversity of Taiwanese music.