To cultivate Hakka musical talents, the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) is organizing the first-ever Hakka Pop Music Contest (客家流行音樂大賽). Submissions will be accepted through Nov. 17. A press conference introducing the competition was held at Taipei’s Riverside Live House (河岸留言) on Oct.16 and attended by HAC Minister Lee Yung-de, jury convener Bing Wang (王治平), Hakka singers Liu Shao-hsi (劉劭希) and Ayugo Huang (黃連煜), The Chairman Band (董事長樂團), and Hakka group Urban Cat (二本貓). In his statement, Minister Lee said that HAC has expended great efforts over the years promoting Hakka culture in Taiwan and abroad through educational and exchange programs, theatrical performances, cuisine workshops, and music concerts. Lee noted that the inaugural Hakka Pop Music Contest, which is aimed at nurturing gifted musicians and singers, is offering prize money totaling NT$800,000. He added that winners will receive the opportunity of being mentored by professionals, releasing a single, making an exclusive music video, and performing at various music festivals at home and abroad. The Minister concluded that those who are interested in Hakka culture and music must not miss this golden opportunity to shine on stage. Wang — who was named the Golden Melody Producer of the Year, Single category in 2009 and 2011 — said that it is an honor to serve as jury convener at the contest. He informed the public that the competition has no restriction on age, gender, race, religion, and nationality for individual or group contestants. Songs can be covered, adapted, or newly created from any genre, but at least 50 percent of the lyrics must be written in the Hakka language, Wang added. The top 3 contenders will be awarded NT$300,000, NT$200,000, and NT$100,000, respectively. Moreover, NT$50,000 each will be given for best lyrics, composition, vocal performance, and jury award. More information is available at http://www.hakkapopmusic.com.tw.