Chinese Name: 新寶島康樂隊
Year Established: 1992
Did You Know?
One of the most iconic songs by The New Formosa Band is their single "The Drumbeat (鼓聲若響)" from their second album, also titled "The Drumbeat," which was released in 1994. This upbeat Latin-style song features lyrics in Taiwanese that express the struggles the singer faced before achieving fame. The song has a bittersweet feeling, and it showcases the emotions that come with trying to make the best of a tough situation.
The New Formosa Band is a singing duo that was formed in 1992 by Taiwanese singers Bobby Chen (陳昇) and Ayugo Huang (黃連煜). They mainly perform in Taiwanese and Hakka, and their first album, "The Passionate Man (多情兄)," was released in 1992 and became a hit due to its unique blend of traditional and innovative elements. When releasing their fourth album, they added a new member, Paiwan singer Vanga Vang Divug, also known as A-Van, and became a trio. With this new addition, their music began to incorporate indigenous Taiwanese elements, making their sound even more exciting. Each member sings in their respective mother tongues: Taiwanese, Hakka, and Paiwan, expressing the true feelings of different ethnic groups living on the same land. Their lyrics reflect the changing social landscape of the times, creating a shared memory among their many fans.
Bobby Chen, a singer hailing from Xizhou Township in Changhua County, was a big name in the Mandarin pop music scene during the 1990s. Not only did he create many popular songs, but he also produced albums for several famous singers. Bobby is a multi-talented artist who has written columns for magazines and published personal essays and books on music. Some of his most famous songs include "I Left Sadness to Myself (把悲傷留給自己)," "Don't Leave Me Alone Anymore (不再讓你孤單)," and "One Night in Beijing (北京一夜)." Even today, he continues to create music.
Ayugo Huang is a talented singer from Toufen City (頭份市) in Miaoli County. In 1997, he chose to step away from the New Formosa Band, deciding to focus on creating Hakka music. Since then, he has released six solo albums and has been working hard to bring Hakka music into the mainstream. Ayugo has won several Golden Melody Awards, including two Best Hakka Singer Awards and three Best Hakka Album Awards. In 2011, he rejoined the New Formosa Band.
Vanga Vang Divug, was born in Mudan Township (牡丹鄉), Pingtung County, Taiwan. In 2012, he founded the Kuskus Folk Song Group in his hometown of Kuskus to teach middle and elementary school students how to sing traditional Paiwan songs and preserve the Paiwan language. In 1995, Bobby Chen saw one of A-Van’s performances and was so impressed that he invited him to join the New Formosa Band.
The New Formosa Band is known for their free and diverse style of music, with themes ranging from lighthearted neighborhood stories to thought-provoking social issues. One of their songs, "The Postal Car of Shueiwei (水尾郵便車)," was inspired by the only mobile post office in Taiwan, serving residents in remote areas of Hualien. The song is filled with nostalgic and warm emotions. Another song, "Should Be Diesel (應該是柴油的)," was inspired by a news report about a nuclear power plant spending billions of dollars on diesel generators for power. The song uses satire and humor to question the absurdity of government policies, subverting the dour image of the anti-nuclear movement.
The New Formosa Band's style and lyrics are always very close to life and local emotions, describing the feelings of ordinary people and carrying some critical meaning. Their lyrics are like telling stories, making it easy for fans to imagine scenes in their minds and ensuring the songs resonate with listeners. This is also the reason why they have been loved by the public since their first days. The New Formosa Band won the Best Vocal Group award at the Golden Melody Awards in 2012 and 2022, a testament to their ongoing strength in the Taiwanese music industry.
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