In the Paiwan language, valjungkisis the smallest unit water can be divided into. When you quietly stand in front of a waterfall, your hair and skin being slowly wetted by valjungkis, you will feel a carefree happiness permeate you.
Paiwan songs are like these little molecules of water. When you stand in front of the waterfall of songs, or even if you look at it from a distance, you can hear the beauty created when the water molecules come together. Softly, before you know it, they enter your hair and skin, your consciousness, and your awareness, taking you down a tunnel through time and space, where with every passing minute the culture sung about in the songs permeates more deeply into you.
In the area between North Dawu and South Dawu Mountain is a waterfall of Paiwan songs. It’s the source of life, the originating point of the stories, melodies and lyrics of many songs. Life and songs both began here; valjungkis shaped the Paiwan people day and night. However, for six decades, traditional Paiwan songs had been neglected. None of the people in the local villages from age ten up to age sixty-five could sing any of their songs in their entirety. Only after 2005, when the recently graduated Camake was assigned to Taiwu Elementary School as a teacher, did the songs start to be sung again.
The beautiful melodies and language of the ancient songs let the old folks of the villages feel as if they were singing with their own vuvu(grandparents), shedding tears of joy in the midst of their recollections and nostalgia. The songs need to be sung to bring the ancestral spirits to the people’s sides, to return to the waterfall on the sacred mountain, and to once more be permeated by valjungkis.
They sing their people’s songs in the name of their villages. They tell their own stories in the name of music. Our pulse beats in the same rhythm as that of the ancestors from centuries ago. With a humble, reverent attitude, we kiss this beautiful earth. We sing our ancestors’ songs, we sing our respect for life.