ABAO is a Taiwanese neo-soul and R&B singer of Paiwan indigenous descent. Although she initially broke into the Chinese-speaking pop world in 2003, she gained mainstream recognition in 2020 for her album, Kinkaian (Mother Tongue), which was nominated for eight Golden Melody Awards. The album, sung mostly in ABAO’s native Paiwan language, went on to win Best Album and Best Song, a remarkable feat for a Taiwanese indigenous music production given the dominance of Mandopop. Kinkaian, which mixes soul, R&B, hip hop and electronic music with traditional Paiwan folk music, was inspired by helping her grandmother record an album of traditional Paiwan songs.
In 2015, she started Nanquaq, an organization devoted to collecting and recording traditional indigenous music across Taiwan, and now oversees the production of “new wave” projects by young indigenous musicians, including albums by the popular soul singer žž wei qi, and N1, a neo-soul/electronica compilation.