The singing children of Yu Shan Mountain

01 January 2019 by Roy Preece

When Bukut Tasvaluan first set up his imaginative and sympathetic scheme for the children of the Bunan people in Taiwan, could he have imagined that his choir would become famous all over the world? Perhaps he did, for the slogan of the Vox Nativa, or ‘Voice of the People’, children’s choir is 

 ‘Let the world hear the sound of Yushan singing!’

Vox Nativa Association was founded by a group of retired school principals to foster arts and humanities among the aboriginal or indigenous peoples of Taiwan.

The school nestles among the foothills of Yu-Shan Mountain, or Jade Mountain, in the centre of Taiwan. This is the area of the Bunan tribe, who are noted for their tradition of harmonious part-singing. The genius of Voc Nativa is that it has developed this skill and given meaning to it in modern settings, and to the young performers’ lives as well.

Recognizing the power of music and shared singing to inspire and motivate, Vox Nativa aims to preserve and promote aboriginal culture, pride, and identity through this children’s choir group. The choir has performed in many famous venues across the world from traditional Vienna to modern USA and is in demand by several countries. But another measure of success is shown by the happy and enthusiastic expressions on the faces of the young performers. 

Vox Nativa cleverly avoids the two extremes of aboriginal life that in so many countries has been taken over by western lifestyles; where their lives can either become a living museum for tourists with traditions that lose their meaning; or become absorbed in modern life and lose the culture completely.

The wider aim of Vox Nativa is to seek social reform within the poor aboriginal communities through the cultivation of gifted aboriginal children. Working at weekends and holidays with dedicated volunteer staff, the selected children are not only given shared self-respect through their music but are also given a good education so they can go on to higher studies, as many of them do.

This worthwhile and successful project is supported at the highest levels in Taiwan, and in particular by the former First Lady of Taiwan. Mrs Ma.

We wish it every success!