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Sound to Heaven – Lileh of Bunun Tribe
Sound to Heaven – Lileh of Bunun Tribe


  • Chinese Name: 南投縣信義鄉布農文化協會Lileh合唱團
  • Year of Establishment: 1999
  • Founder: Bunun Cultural Association in Xinyi Township of Nantou County (南投縣信義鄉布農文化協會)
  • Did You Know That…?
  • “Lileh” refers to Chinese silver grass in the Bunun language, which is a common plant used by indigenous Bunun communities. Lileh is also the old name of a Bunun tribe in Ming-de Village of Xinyi Township. The group adopted the name to express the vitality of silver grass.
  • Website: http://sixstar.moc.gov.tw/blog/shinibunun



“Sound to Heaven Lileh of Bunun Tribe” is a chorus group dedicated to preserving the Bunun’s oral tradition of an eight-part polyphony known as pasibutbut. Without flamboyant dance and music, the group has brought the most primeval and pure sounds of Bunun tribe to countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland, and Japan. Lileh was designated as a National Preservationist of Traditional Arts by the Ministry of Culture in 2010.

The Nantou-based group was originally formed by Bunun seniors of the Ming-de community who aimed to pass down Bunun heritage. Known for distinguished vocal aesthetics, Bunun chorus songs are a tradition practiced by all Bunun people in their daily life as well as in hunting, farming, and community rituals.

The pasibutbut, a prayer for a rewarding millet harvest, is the most significant traditional tune in Bunun culture. The Bunun people believe that the better the singing, the happier their deities become, and thus the Bunun men would sing the prayer in hopes for a good millet harvest every year.

Their unique polyphonic harmonies were introduced to the world by Japanese scholar Takatomo Kurosawa (黑澤隆朝), who presented his research paper on the Bunun’s eight-part oral tradition to UNESCO in 1952, drawing international attention to Taiwan’s indigenous cultures.

The Bunun Cultural Association established the group in 1999 to officially promote and preserve pasibutbut and other ancient tunes of the Bunun. Consisting of mainly Bunun people from Ming-de community, the group has been led by several directors who also researched, collected, and taught traditional Bunun music.

Since 2010, the group started practicing traditional tunes and oral folklores two days a week from March through November. Three years later, a debut album “The Sound of Unyielding Lives – Traditional Music of the Bunun Tribe” was released.

Covering 28 songs including “Pasibutbut (millet song),” “Pislahi (hunting festival),” and “Mis-av (drinking song),” the album was shortlisted by the 25th Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music for best traditional album and won the award for best album producer.

The group has also been invited by the National Center for Traditional Arts to join its “Traditional Folk Art Performance and Promotion Program.” The program has since helped to introduce the soulful music of the Bunun to the public and foster knowledge of Taiwan’s indigenous cultures among students across Taiwan.  

Ever-evolving with new members and gaining performance experience over the years, Lileh has now become a leading chorus of its kind in Taiwan as it continues to safeguard the valuable cultural assets of the Bunun people.


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