照亮人生路的療癒歌手

詹雅雯
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2013 / 2月

文‧郭麗娟 圖‧雅雯音樂工作室有限公司提供


出道26年的台語創作歌手詹雅雯不常作宣傳,很少出現在電視螢光幕前,但她的歌曲卻在中南部紅透半邊天,被封為「南霸天歌后」。

 

詹雅雯有一群「身分特殊」的歌迷,多年來她幾乎跑遍台灣每一所監獄,是一位長期擔任志工教誨師的藝人,她渾厚鮮明的歌聲,療癒、感化了許多誤入歧途的受刑人,讓他們找到重新開始的力量。


詹雅雯是第一位獲得法務部頒授「更生大使」的志工教誨師藝人。

走進台中沙鹿醫院的慢性病房,探視因車禍成為植物人的老人家,詹雅雯腳步放慢,眼淚不爭氣地滑落,輕聲喊著「陳爸爸、陳爸爸,恁子叫我來看你。」她的雙手緊握老人的手,希望將在獄中服刑的孩子心意,帶給病榻上的老爸爸。

詹雅雯在病床旁輕唱著招牌歌曲〈想厝的人〉,「義氣輸贏,為情賭命,落魄找無朋友的影跡。想厝的人,心酸軟痛,目眶澹澹,無一暝乾,拜託故鄉的月娘,照光回鄉的路線,提醒迷失的,異鄉的浪子啊。」道出孩子誤入歧途的心情與悔恨。

歌聲照亮回鄉路

因主持廣播節目,詹雅雯與陳姓受刑人通信多年,她從信中獲悉他擔憂母親撐不下去的躁動情緒,不但到醫院探視他的父親,也親自轉告陳母他心中的懺悔,以及在獄中考上乙級水電執照的好消息,希望陳母可以堅持下去,等候他出獄,重新做人。

「曾經,有臨終的病患往生前,希望我唱他最喜歡的台語老歌〈望你早歸〉,看著他如願安詳的闔上雙眼,原來,歌聲可以是治療,也可以是善緣。」

從此,創作與歌唱成了詹雅雯最快樂、最有意義的事,她自許成為「唱歌的志工」,並從對受刑人的輔導中體認到自己對社會的責任。

2007年,結束8年的婚姻,詹雅雯到澎湖散心,從馬公搭船到虎井,一上岸,就聽到劈哩啪啦的鞭炮聲;心想,怎麼這麼巧,剛好遇到有人辦喜事。

沒想到,這座只有百餘人的小島,所有居民都到碼頭迎接她,還搬來椅子讓她站上去,讓每個鄉親都能看到她,原來船從馬公出發時,船家早就通風報信告知她的行蹤。

人群中有位她在獄中輔導過的女受刑人,看到她便潸然淚下,這位更生人謹記她所說:「人生的劇本要自己寫。」出獄後選擇住在虎井,並勇敢坦承自己的過去,當地居民不僅接納她,她也找到生命中的另一半,開始新的人生。

驚喜與感動在心裡如浪花擊岸般洶湧衝擊,她深深感受到這塊土地的純樸與居民的可愛,創作靈感剎時湧現。她想到父親勞動打拚的身影,想到自己起伏轉折的歌唱路,想到許許多多輔導過的受刑人,苦過淚盡後選擇勇敢地活下去。

「小時候,父親常提醒做人要有志氣,這樣的教誨型塑我倔強的個性,這也成了我表現志氣的方式。」在澎湖的海風吹拂下,她寫出〈人生公路〉這首歌:

「人生的公路直直行,成功的路置叼一段,出外人本錢是打拚,志氣是唯一的靠山。」

人生的劇本自己寫

1967年生於彰化的詹雅雯,出身勞工家庭,在電視機逐漸成為家庭基本配備的年代,租來的房子裡沒有電視與音響,父親就教她和妹妹唱歌。

小時候,隔壁鄰居常播放日語唱片,她第一次聽到日語歌時,心想,怎麼有這麼好聽的聲音。蟄伏的音樂種子就此萌芽。

國中畢業後,家中經濟陷入困境,身為長女的她必須幫忙賺錢,到工廠當女工,讓她覺得自己就像〈孤女的願望〉歌中的女孩一樣,孤苦地成長著。後來她考上台中新民商工,半工半讀完成學業,嚮往當白衣天使的她,也如願找到護佐的工作。

1987年,她和參加歌唱比賽奪冠的妹妹,被雅鸝唱片的製作人發掘出片,取名「櫻花姐妹」,出版《櫻花姐妹走唱專輯》,一首首耳熟能詳的台語老歌,透過姐妹倆柔美深情、活潑豪邁的歌聲,成了勞動階層日夜奔波、抒解煩悶心情時最熟悉的聲音。

當時由於卡式錄音帶隨時可聽的方便性,加上夜市攤販的促銷,短短3年,姐妹倆即錄製了8張台語老歌專輯,以及國語和日語歌曲專輯各6張,雖然沒有強勢媒體宣傳,「櫻花姐妹」的歌聲以口耳相傳方式廣受民眾喜愛。

銷量破百萬的「夜市江蕙」

1991年詹雅雯出版首張個人專輯《是你傷我的心》,喜愛創作的她終於有機會一展長才,包辦整張專輯的歌詞。

「甘是別人比我卡有情,乎你看無我對你的心,無留戀過去情意深,是你無情、是你無情,是你傷我的心。」

全張專輯通俗淺白的歌詞、直逼人心的演歌系唱腔,創下30萬張的銷售佳績,若加上當時猖獗的盜版數量,這張專輯實際銷售量應該破百萬。有唱片業者估計,中南部縣市大約有七成以上的民眾買過她的唱片,她受歡迎的程度直追江蕙、黃乙玲等台語天后,因此封她為「夜市江蕙」。

當紅之際,歌迷也紛紛寫信向她傾訴心事,其中,一位癌末歌迷託友人來信表示,他和女友當年經常約在朴子橋見面,後來兩人因誤會而分手,如今他已不久人世,希望能再見到女友一面,也希望能聽到代表他懺悔心情的歌曲,她就以這段愛情故事為背景,寫下〈難忘的朴子橋〉,這首歌也讓她體悟到,創作歌曲必須有真實的情感和故事。

「溪水清又清,晚風冷又冷,蟲聲樹影伴阮看孤燈,難忘的情景,難忘的橋頂,失去你竟然會變甲這淒冷。」

1999年詹雅雯嫁做人妻,2001年出版《感謝你無情》專輯後,整整沉寂了3年,「因為找不到繼續唱下去的動力。」初出道時,背負著長女的責任感,驅使她不停的唱下去,她形容自己就像「唱歌的女工」,等到肩上的重擔卸下後,動力也隨之熄火。

〈想厝的人〉再出發

沉潛的歲月裡她積極投入慈濟志工行列,同時也在台中廣播電台主持節目,開闢「浪子心聲」單元,接到很多受刑人來信,有人述說無法牽著女兒進禮堂的遺憾;有人只因朋友攜槍被追緝,他「好心」地撿起掉落地上的槍枝,竟被當作共犯,含冤在苦牢裡虛度青春。

因為來信很多,她開始申請進監獄近身採訪受刑人。「曾有位懊悔萬分的父親,只奢望子女能透過我的節目,聽到他的心聲而能原諒他。」詹雅雯決定去找這位受刑人的子女與他們懇談,一星期後,這位受刑人的子女就去監獄探望他,自此,這位受刑人就稱她為「觀世音菩薩」。

與受刑人接觸的過程中,她深深了解他們的徬徨與無奈,於是自譜詞曲寫下〈想厝的人〉,配上簡單的配樂便在節目中播放,引起廣大迴響。

2004年在大信唱片負責人陳維祥鍥而不捨的遊說下,推出新專輯《想厝的人》,入圍第15屆最佳台語女演唱人獎。

「放棄父母乎伊的名,甘願放蕩乎人叫浪子啊,義氣輸贏為情賭命,落魄找無朋友的影跡。」

她在文案中自述:「因為工作的關係,讓我有機會接觸到一些踏入人生迷途的朋友,看見他們堅強的外表,卻常常因為想厝而流下淚水。這是個艱苦的年代,感情在虛擬中交流,是真?是假?我們都堅強到不願意讓別人觸碰自己的淚水,然而我們也都將發現,最遠的,還是回家的那條路。」

志氣是唯一的靠山

錄音速度一向快速的她,2006年錄製《今年一定會好過》時,簡直是噩夢一場。

大信唱片老闆陳維祥聽到這首由洪文彬創作的歌曲時,覺得這首歌一定可以像〈愛拚才會贏〉一樣紅透半邊天,於是花錢買下著作權,並且不惜重資編曲。

「我一共唱了6個版本,陳老闆常常前一天稱讚說唱得很好,隔天又打電話來說希望能重錄。」有時他要求多一點夜市仔味,下一次又希望唱高尚點,求好心切的她晚上作夢都夢到在唱這首歌。

2007年她成立「雅雯音樂工作室」,並以《人生公路》做為創業代表作。然而,隨著數位化科技,唱片市場劇變,用心製作的專輯就算禁得起消費者考驗,也敵不過非法下載的侵蝕,為了讓自己創作的勵志歌曲有發聲的管道,詹雅雯勇敢地再戰市場。

2008年《人生公路》獲得第19屆最佳台語女演唱人獎,認真耕耘了21年終於獲得肯定。

如今定居澎湖西嶼,並擔任馬公市親善大使的詹雅雯,希望藉由她的創作與歌聲,呈現現代人的生活型態,也保留台語歌曲傳統之美,重新找回溫暖人心及向上提昇的力量。

誠如她在《人生公路》中所呈現的創作主軸,人生有很多選擇,成敗難免,但只要努力過,就要給自己一個鼓勵的掌聲。

總是抱著結善緣的心情到監所探望受刑人的詹雅雯,希望社會能給這些人多點關懷,就能避免更多悲劇發生,這也是她當義工的目的。作為一名療癒歌手,詹雅雯說,只要她的歌聲具有撫慰力量,可以感化人心,她就會一直唱下去。

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近期文章

EN

Lighting the Road Home: The Healing Voice of Zhan Yawen

Kuo Li-chuan /photos courtesy of courtesy of Yawen Music Studio /tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen

Singer-songwriter Zhan Yawen, who records exclusively in her native Taiwanese language, has gained the title “Diva of the South.” Despite the fact that during her entire 26-year career, she has rarely actively marketed her music nor sought television appearances, Zhan’s songs have become an integral part of the life of central and southern Taiwan.

 

Zhan has a number of “special” fans. Over the years, she has worked as a volunteer counselor visiting prisons across Taiwan, where her deep, distinctive voice has found a role as a powerful healing tool for many inmates of those institutions. A number, in fact, have discovered in her music the strength to begin anew.


Zhan Yawen was the first singing star to be recognized by the Ministry of Justice as a volunteer social worker for prisoners.

Walking slowly towards the chronic diseases ward at a hospital in Shalu District, Taichung City, Zhan is visiting an elderly patient who is in a persistent vegetative state after a car accident. At the bedside, she is unable to restrain her tears. She calls softly: “Papa Chen, Papa Chen, your son asked me to come to see you.” Zhan holds the patient’s hand firmly, hoping to communicate the imprisoned young man’s feelings to his father.

Zhan softly croons one of her popular songs, “Homesick One,” to the patient: “Homesick one / With sad heart / Tears every night / Oh hometown moon / Please light the way home.” The lyrics portray the remorse of a son who has strayed.

Lighting the road

Zhan hosted a radio program and over a period of years corresponded with a prisoner named Chen. Mr. Chen was very concerned about his mother’s psychological health, as she was in the distressing situation of having a seriously ill husband and a son in prison. So Zhan decided to do what she could to help. She visited the father in hospital, and consoled his mother with news of Chen’s repentance, and the fact that he had obtained his plumber and electrician license through study in prison. She hoped Chen’s mother would live to see her son released from prison and keen to start a new life.

“Once a terminally ill patient asked me to sing his favorite Taiwanese song, ‘Hope You Return Soon,’ before his life ended. I watched him as he peacefully closed his eyes, and realized that music not only heals people’s hearts, but also provides enormous comfort to those facing the end.”

Since then, creating music and singing have brought the happiest and most meaningful moments in Zhan’s life. And this realization has led her to become a singing volunteer, fulfilling her sense of social responsibility by bringing her music to the prison population.

In 2007, after Zhan had ended her eight-year marriage, she took a trip to ­Penghu to allay her distress. On disembarking from the ferry in Hu­jing Island after the trip from Ma­gong City, she heard the crackling of firecrackers; it sounded like there was some sort of celebration in progress—perhaps someone was getting married.

To her surprise, however, the 100-odd residents of this little island had all come to the wharf to welcome her. They even had a chair for her to stand on so everyone could see her clearly. Apparently the owner of the ferry company had informed the village of Zhan’s pending arrival as the ferry departed Ma­gong.

Among the crowds, a woman ex-­offender to whom Zhan had given counseling in jail broke into tears when Zhan appeared. She had always remembered the advice Zhan offered her: “Life is a play for which you need to write your own script.” On her release, she had come to live in Hujing, not trying to hide her past. But the locals accepted her warmly—in fact, she found a partner there and started a new life.

A mixture of surprise and emotion filled Zhan’s heart, like the surge of waves on the shore. Deeply impressed by the simplicity and loving attitude of the local people, she suddenly became inspired. Zhan recalled the image of her hardworking father, the ups and downs of her music career, and the many offenders to whom she had offered counseling, many of whom had later found the courage to begin their lives anew.

Under the Penghu sea breeze, “The Road of Life” was created: “Hard work is the capital for people away from home / Determination, the only feeling to trust.”

Writing your life

Born in 1967 in Chang­hua County, Zhan came from a working-class family. At the age when a TV set and stereo were becoming essential equipment in almost every home, their family couldn’t afford either in their rented accommodation, so Zhan’s father taught both her and her sister singing.

After Zhan graduated from junior high school, the ­family was experiencing economic difficulties more serious than usual, so as the eldest daughter, Zhan had to help with supporting the family. She worked in a factory, and later on took on study at Shin­min Commercial and Industrial Vocational High School in Tai­chung while still working. She was interested in becoming a nurse, so after graduation she found a job as a nursing assistant.

In 1987, a producer at Ya­lee Records discovered Zhan, along with her sister, who had just won a singing contest, and decided to promote them. The company gave them a stage name—the Sakura Sisters—and released an album of the same name. A number of well-known old Taiwanese pop songs were reinterpreted by the sisters’ soft, affectionate, yet bold and lively voices. These versions became classics for the working class, providing comfort in the many hard times.

Breaking records

In 1991, Zhan released her debut solo album You Break My Heart. Being a lover of great lyrics, Zhan finally had the opportunity to show her writing talent as she wrote all the lyrics on the album—which sold 300,000 copies. If the number of pirated copies were added, the actual figure could well be over a million.

Recording industry experts estimate that more than 70% of the population in central and southern Taiwan have at least one of Zhan’s albums. They became so popular in fact that Zhan became known as “the night market’s Jody ­Chiang.”

As her popularity surged, fans started writing to her to share their lives. Among them, a fan with terminal cancer expressed his wish to see his ex-girlfriend again, and to hear a song that could express his regrets before he died. He and his girlfriend used to regularly meet at the Puzi Bridge in ­Chiayi County, but they split up due to a misunderstanding. Zhan used the couple’s story to write “Puzi Bridge Memories.” Writing the lyric brought home to her the fact that musical creativity blossoms when it is addressing real-life stories and emotions.

Zhan married in 1999. But in 2001 she released an album titled Thanks for Your Heartlessness, and then wrote and sang nothing for three years. “The driving force for my work had gone!”

Starting anew

During these few years, Zhan became actively involved in volunteer work with the Tzu Chi Foundation, and hosted a program on Tai­chung Radio. As a radio host, she received a lot of letters from prison inmates, including one in particular who expressed his remorse that he was unable to hold his daughter’s hand when she walked up the aisle. Another told Zhan the story of how he ended up in jail. He was with a friend when the police started chasing them because they suspected that his friend had a gun. He did, but he dropped it as he ran off. Unfortunately, the story teller picked up the weapon with the best of intentions—just trying to help—but he was sentenced as an accomplice, and wasted much of his youth languishing in a prison cell.

Because of the sheer number of letters she received from prisoners, she applied for permission to interview the inmates in person. “Once an extremely remorseful father expressed the hope that his children could hear his feelings through my radio program, and thus perhaps come to forgive him.” Zhan decided to visit the man’s children to have a heart-to-heart chat. A week later, the children visited their father in prison for the first time. Since then, this inmate refers to Zhan as “Bodhisattva.”

Through her contact with prisoners, Zhan came to understand the anxiety and helplessness generated by prison life. So she composed the song “Homesick One,” for which she wrote both the lyrics and the music. And when it was first played on her radio show, it created a sensation.

In 2004, as a result of the persistent persuasion of Chen Wei­xiang, the owner of Dra­hin Music Co., Zhan released an album with the same title, for which she was nominated for Best Taiwanese Female Singer at the 15th Golden Melody Awards.

The cover notes to the album include these observations: “Because of my work, I have been blessed with the opportunity to make contact with people who have gone astray. They may look tough and strong, but in private they often shed tears over the loss of home and family. We can never be sure of others’ feelings today. We all try to show how strong we are, and never allow anyone to see our tears. The most difficult road for anyone to travel is the road home.”

Relying on determination

In 2007, Zhan set up Ya­wen Music Studio, producing the masterpiece album The Road of Life. However, the prevalence of digital technology had shaken up the record market and, despite the loyalty of her fans, it was becoming difficult to combat illegal music downloading. In order to continue her communication with her audience, Zhan carried on regardless.

With The Road of Life, Zhan won Best Taiwanese Female Singer at the 19th Golden Melody Awards in 2008, a much appreciated reward for the 21 years of hard work that had put her in that position.

Zhan has now settled in ­Shiyu, ­Penghu County, and serves as goodwill ambassador for Magong City. She hopes to employ her creative gift for music and singing to portray the lifestyle of modern society, to maintain the traditional beauty of Taiwanese songs, and to continually rediscover the warmth in people’s hearts and the strength to struggle onwards.

Zhan has always been good at connecting with others, a gift especially valuable in her work with prison inmates. She is hopeful that society can show greater concern for those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law, so as to prevent future tragedy from happening. This is also the purpose of her volunteer work. As a “healing voice,” as long as her music has the power to soothe and soften people’s hearts, she will continue to sing.

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