Returning Souls, ca. 85’


Documentary Film by Tai-Li Hu, Music by Shih-hui Chen

In 2010, under the auspices of a Fulbright Scholar grant, I had the good fortune to live in Taiwan for a year while studying the music of the Han and Indigenous Peoples there. As a visiting scholar at Academia Sinica, I collaborated with award winning anthropologist and filmmaker, Hu Tai-Li, to create original music for a film project entitled Returning Souls. This film documents the recovery of lost tribal icons by the Amis tribe and interweaves three of their cultural legends with modern day realities, including national land policies, religious beliefs, community identity and clan rivalries. The lost icons are three wooden pillars with carvings of Ami ancestors that were removed from their community in 1958, following a hurricane. Anthropologists feared the damaged pillars would disintegrate, so they brought them back to the Academia Sinica museum for display. The Ami believed that when the pillars were taken, the souls of their ancestors were also taken away from their village. The film traces efforts by the young Ami members to return these souls back to their village.

More information regarding Returning Souls can be found at the film website here.

More information regarding the US Tour of Returning Souls in Spring 2013 can be found here.