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Atayal Mouth Harp Performer | Yawi Nomin

  • Date:2024-05-17
Atayal Mouth Harp Performer | Yawi Nomin

Chinese Name: 江明清

Born: 1966

Birthplace: Yilan County (Eastern Taiwan)


Did You Know That…?

The mouth harp is an essential musical instrument in the indigenous Atayal people's culture, which is used for communication, musical performance, competition, entertainment, and rituals. 



Yawi Nomin, a member of the Atayal community, was born in the Buta Village (武塔村) of Nan’ao Township (南澳鄉), Yilan County (宜蘭縣). Baptized as a Christian at a young age, he entered the Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary (玉山神學院), where he was inspired by Pastor Masegeseg Z. Gadu (童春發), an active promoter of Atayal culture. This inspiration led Yawi Nomin to study the Atayal language, culture, and traditional music. He hopes that indigenous people will take the initiative in researching and producing cultural artifacts to ensure the preservation of their traditions and musical heritage. 


Observing how the indigenous communities in the mountains maintain their societal structure and ethics, Yawi Nomin aspires to rebuild the Atayal community in the Nan’ao area, which is facing a loss of tradition. Upon returning to his hometown, he decided to connect the Atayal people through musical education, hoping to grow their appreciation and identification with traditional culture. He learned to craft and play 11 types of Atayal traditional instruments from the community elders and submitted research papers in the academic circle.


Yawi Nomin built a studio on top of his residence, where he teaches local residents to create musical instruments using bamboo and wood, including mouth harps and percussive instruments. Additionally, he travels to villages weekly to deliver mouth harp lessons to young students and takes them to perform across the country. Devoted to the creation and performance of mouth harps, he has been registered by the Bureau of Cultural Heritage as a preserver of Yilan County’s Atayal mouth harp tradition.