Inner Chapters

by Jen Shyu



Some tracks are hidden from this site, but you will receive them if you buy the whole album!


released August 17, 2010

Jen Shyu, vocals, compositions, piano, moon lute, er hu; engineered & mixed by Joseph Branciforte; recorded at 58 North 6 Media Labs March 2, 2010; photos by Steven Schreiber and Miranda Lichtenstein


all rights reserved



Jen Shyu New York

NEW 2017 ALBUM on Pi! : Experimental vocalist,composer,multi- instrumentalist,dancer, 2019 Guggenheim Fellow+USA Fellow, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, Fulbright scholar, has produced 7 albums, becoming the 1st female+ vocalist leader on Pi. She's touring Nine Doors dir. by Alex Mihail, premiering Zero Grasses commissioned by John Zorn 10/30/19. ... more

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Track Name: Qemaiaqaiam
Qemaiaqaiam (Women sing) Translation:
1. The leader tells us
2. The leader we chose
3. Each family spreads the word and works together
(verses not sung during performance):
4. That one with the cut hair
5. He consults with us all there
6. So we agree to act together
7. The men bring the women wickers from the mountain to take to the gathering place
8. Everyone holds the wickers tight
9. From afar, the streams of flowers in the women’s hair seem to dance in the wind
10. We bring the wickers through the south king’s main door
11. When the women bring their wickers to the tribe’s gathering place, the ceremony ends
Kumuli Ku Lis
1. We want to end this Qemaiaqaiam song
2. We sing with beauty
3. We give thanks to the men who prepared the wickers for us
Track Name: Sofia Sofria
In the room where he used to live
She would sleep
The bedroom where he used to sleep
She wouldn’t see
From his hanging clothes
She would avoid
The smell of a smoker
She would absorb
On the skin of a non-lover
She would feel
To his absence of life
She would smile, suffer
Sleep, suffer
Not see, suffer
Deflect, suffer
Sorb, suffer
Feel...alone...and cold
Track Name: 5-Hole Tune (moon lute)
The first hardship is the ax and the knife
The second hardship is the basket and the rope
Poor father and poor mother
Going up the mountain and down the mountain – there’s nothing we can do

The first worry is the home/family being poor
The second worry is that the child is still young
The third worry is becoming old and unable to work
To face others day to day is so very difficult

“Five-Hole Tune”, Taiwanese folk song from Hengchun, taught by Chen Ying 陳英
Track Name: Cio d'Agua
I saw the horizon devouring the sun as a delicacy.
On the shore everybody was clapping,
Honoring the eroticism between the heat and the water.
I did see it, no joke.

On the shore everybody was clapping.
And there was the sky, sheet and witness.
I did see it, no joke,
almost hearing, in low tones, the orgasm of the sea.

There was the sky: sheet and witness;
the full moon, lurking;
and I — almost hearing, in low tones, the orgasm of the sea --
plunged, nude, in the heat of the water.

The full moon, lurking,
shining smiled,
‘cause I plunged, nude, in the heat of the water,
and came in the dance of the waves.

On the shore, everybody clapped.

(By Patrícia Magalhães)
Track Name: Looking Back (moon lute)
Everyone loves Hengchun folk song
The whole province over know these famous songs
Mr. Chen Da* handed them down to me
Let us hand down this music from generation to generation

*Chen Da was a renowned narrator and singer, defining Hengchun folk music. Born in 1905, 1/4 indigenous Taiwanese descent, he was a true virtuoso on the moon lute and a genius improviser with lyrics. He died tragically in 1981 from being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.
Track Name: Looking Back / Soomi Line
Thinking back, you, the respectable elders, are all lucky stars
To be strong and brave is a fortune
Today, we see each other, smiling, embracing
I wish you a healthy life of 120 years
Track Name: Rainy Night Flower
雨夜花, 1934
Track Name: Eu e Tu
**ME AND YOU (“EU E TU” - poem and translation by Patrícia Magalhães)

I, who says yes and no
the drying fountain
the bright side of darkness

Sound invading silence
sea, horizon, firmament
brave waves at dusk
and shadows on the ground

You, who consents and surrenders
the fresh herb scent
the purity of the chant

The face that shines in smiles
salt, sun, heaven
I contradict
You, contraction