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Singer-Songwriter | Chen Jian-nian
Singer-Songwriter | Chen Jian-nian

 

  • Chinese Name: 陳建年
  • Year of Birth: August 1967
  • Place of Birth: Taitung City (Southeastern Taiwan)
  • Did You Know That ... ?
  • A former policeman, the singer-songwriter rose to fame for his simple but enduring music using acoustic guitar, harmonica, bamboo flute, and the Chinese violin (erhu). Touted as "a man of idyllic happiness," he remains content in his abode on the outlying isle of Lanyu (Orchid Island). 

 

Chen Jian-nian, known as Pau-Dull in the indigenous language of Puyuma, is one of the most popular aboriginal music artists in Taiwan. He began writing songs at the age of 18 but did not release his first album “Ho-hai-yan, Ocean” until 1999. However, his songs have been widely known to people in his community. He used to play a guitar accompaniment for pop diva A-Mei, who is also from the Puyuma Tribe in Taitung. 

Chen’s music, which fuses American folk music, blues, jazz and elements of traditional Puyuma tribal music, became more popular after his debut album earned him two Golden Melody Awards, Taiwan’s equivalent of the Grammys, for Best Male Singer and Best Songwriter in 2000. Chen was relatively unknown at that time but he outdid other pop stars, including David Tao, Wang Leehom, Harlem Yu, and Jacky Cheung, in the first category.

His music is often accompanied by simple instruments such as acoustic guitar and harmonica as well as rich ambient sound recordings, from the whisper of the ocean to people’s laughter, that help listeners visualize the scenery Chen tries to describe through music.

“I don’t want to influence my listeners with too many words, because I, myself, am a person who enjoys visualizing the music without reading the words,” the artist noted.

Despite his overnight rise to stardom, Chen still lives a low-key and simple life, working as a police officer in the outlying island of Lanyu. He has said he never wanted to become a full-time musician. In fact, he had aspired to be a painter but gave up after failing to become accepted by an art school.

In his free time, Chen enjoys snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, fishing and drawing comics. Although he is not very interested in album promotion, he has kept a blog about his life in Lanyu and music since 2005.  

 

Select Discography

  • “Ho-hai-yan, Ocean” (1999)
  • “Mother Earth” (2002)
  • “I-yen-mei-leg Village No. 3” (2006)
  • “How High is the Mountain” (2012)

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