Where did the Greatest Art Piece Come From? From Taiwan’s Music Industry to Jay Chou’s Latest Album 

Written by Dr Chen-Yu Lin. his strategy to project Chineseness as a globalising project was best exemplified by Jay Chou’s appearance on the Nasdaq screen at Time Square in January 2019. He was voted the most influential Chinese singer on Kugou (酷狗), the Chinese streaming service owned by Tencent ( 騰訊). However, other than his name, the text shown on the Nasdaq screen alongside a photo of Chou is all in Chinese. Such a projection of a globalising Chineseness caters to the hopes of the well-educated and well-travelled Chinese newly rising classes.

A Possible Cultural-Political Alliance to Address Concurrent Struggles between Taiwan and Oceania: Music as a Means

Written by Chun Chia Tai. For many Indigenous peoples in Taiwan, music is a lively cultural medium that facilitates allying with other Austronesian peoples residing in Oceania. Such a musical way of fostering cultural diplomacy has currently been popular in Taiwan, especially after the release of the album Polynesia in 2014, emphasising the shared cultural genealogy of Austronesian under the collaboration of an Amis singer Chalaw Pasiwali and a Madagascar musician Kelima. In the same year, another project called the Small Island Big Song aimed to establish a network between Pacific Islands and Taiwan through music and film. Musicians in this project released their 2018 album Small Island Big Song and a sequential album named Our Island in 2021. Moreover, all these musical works focus on fusions of traditional folk music(s). Positive public perception reflects Taiwanese people’s rising demand for establishing a cross-Pacific Austronesian community between Taiwan and the Pacific Islands.

Representing Taiwan’s Pacific Connections

Written by Chuahua Lin. How are Trans-Pacific connections remembered and maintained in the literary works of the Tao people, one of the 16 officially recognised Indigenous tribes of Taiwan? In this article, I will read Syaman Rapongan and Yung-chuan Hsieh’s works, and I will discuss how they exemplified the ways in which Tao people endeavour to revitalise the navigation tradition of their people and maintain the connection to the ocean. As I argue in this article, Tao people, as well as other Pacific Islander writers, represent the centuries-old navigating traditions of their people and thus keep these Trans-Pacific connections alive. 

Taiwan’s Music Reimagined in Garden Mingle: Is Blossoming Creativity Grounded in Resilient Infrastructure?

Written by Chen-Yu Lin. While the presence of music is found mainly in the side events of TCCF, it implies that music is an effective and powerful medium to engage the public and bring publicity. However, the relationship between music and other cultural technologies is yet to be probed, problematized, and identified. While the influence of technologies is praised and habitually presented in a positive light in TCCF, the unceasing tension between music creators and technological development—highlighted by discussions of streaming royalties and antitrust regulations—is concealed.

Eggplantegg: Taiyu Language Proliferation and Linguistic Diversity in Taiwan’s Popular Music Scene

Written by Max Lembke-Soh. EggPlantEgg 茄子蛋 has fast become a significant player. Rocketing to popularity in 2017, EggPlantEgg received multiple Golden Melody Awards and nominations recognising their distinctly Taiwanese vibes, making full use of Taiyu’s broad intonation range to melodise lyrics across a variety of sounds. The band has no shortage of commentators lauding their style, highlighting their passionate use of Taiyu to express everything from love and yearning to relationships and loss.

Which Nation’s National Music? – A Critical Introduction of Contemporary Chinese Orchestra in Taiwan

Written by Min-erh Wang. From the late nineteenth century onwards, Chinese musical culture has been significantly impacted by the importation of Western music. Chinese musicians and intellectuals, therefore, began to organise an orchestra with Chinese instruments as a way for pursuing musical modernisation. The establishment of the music section at the Central Broadcast Station in Chongqing in 1935 was the most prominent example of this trend. By presenting this new ensemble at international occasions, the modern Chinese orchestra was further promoted as ‘Gou Yue (國樂),’ meaning ‘national music,’ in the first half of the twentieth century.

Confessions from a Former Fan Girl

Written by Ellie Koepplinger. I remember being thirteen with vivid clarity. You are at once gangly, disproportionate, and uncomfortable with yourself, confused and delighted in equal measure by your budding independence. You are constantly trying to untangle a knotted web of hormones, education, and friendships, convinced that one poor decision would permanently impact the chasm of life that stretched before you. At that tender inflexion point, falling in love with fictionalized Taiwanese pop idols was the one thing that kept me grounded.

Music as Political Commitment: The Reception of Pablo Casals in Taiwan before the 1970s

Written by Min-Erh Wang. Historical musicologists focus on studying Western classical music written by Western or Western-trained composers, while ethnomusicologists primarily concentrate on traditional and vernacular music research. Against this background, music scholars in Taiwan tend to pay attention to the musical works and composers or the cultures of traditional genres, such as nanguan and the music of aboriginal people, while leaving the reception of Western classical music overlooked. However, from the late nineteenth century onwards, Western classical music has deeply rooted in Taiwan as well as other East Asian countries as part of the modernisation agenda. Furthermore, during the Cold War, Western classical music was adopted by both the US and Soviet Russia to disseminate their influence over Third World countries.

Rethinking Self-Identity and Taiwanese Indigenous Musicians’ Contemporary Presentation on Social Media

Written by GuoTing Lin (Kuing). This work uses digital ethnography to consider how Taiwanese indigenous musicians utilise Facebook as their primary official platform for audience communication. I go about this by analysing cover images, profiles, photos, and feeds on Facebook, which is used to depict the details of the texts, photos, and videos. It thus shows the self-presentation and the communication of Taiwanese indigenous musicians concerning cultural and social issues. Moreover, I argue that indigenous musicians perform their identity through online self-presentation in everyday life.

When 50 Steps is Further than Taipei: Indigenous Contemporary Art and Temporal Orientation

Written by DJ Hatfield. Over the past ten years, images of Indigenous people have increased both in Taiwan and international representation. Indigenous people appear in depictions of Taiwan’s relationships to Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in promotions of Taiwan as a tourist destination, in discourses of sustainability, and images of environmental protest. In relationship to these representations of Indigenous people, Taiwanese Indigenous contemporary artists maintain an ambivalent footing, aware that current indigenous visibility rearticulates Taipei (here referring broadly to settler power) rather than displacing it.

Jay Chou’s China Wind Pop Made in Taiwan and Its Transnational Audiences

Written by Chen-yu Lin. It is evident that “being Chinese” today can influence both music production and perceptions. The chapter argues that the construction and perception of Chineseness through popular music is multidimensional, whether the investigation concerns a China Wind song or a person’s experience of it. It also further explores other dimensions to be considered alongside the sonic journey music provides.

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