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Taipei Music Center Showcases the Transformation of Taiwanese Pop Music from a Regional Powerhouse to a Global Cultural Force at Seattle Exhibition

05/03/2024 09:22 AM
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Taipei Music Center Showcases the Transformation of Taiwanese Pop Music from a Regional Powerhouse to a Global Cultural Force at Seattle Exhibition
Taipei Music Center Showcases the Transformation of Taiwanese Pop Music from a Regional Powerhouse to a Global Cultural Force at Seattle Exhibition

SEATTLE, Wash. (May 1, 2023) - The Taipei Music Center(TMC) has launched "MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!", its first overseas exhibition, at the University of Washington. The exhibit, which opened on April 24 and runs through May 28, chronicles the remarkable journey of Taiwanese pop music from its influence on Mandarin-speaking communities worldwide to its emergence in the global music scene. The exhibition showcases the widely recognized Taiwanese pop music as the birthplace and crucial hub of Mandarin pop songs that have captured the hearts of Chinese listeners around the world, has transcended borders and become a global cultural niche.

The opening ceremony was led by Kay Huang, a respectedTaiwanese musician, composer, former Golden Melody Awardsjury chairperson, and the current chairperson of TMC. Huang was joined by the exhibition's curators, renowned music critic Ma Shih-fang and music critic Chen Te-cheng, who shared fascinating stories behind the exhibits and the evolution of Taiwanese pop music in a thought-provoking panel discussion that left the audience captivated and eager to explore the exhibition further.

During the discussion, Ma Shih-fang shed light on the impact of censorship on Taiwanese music during the martial law era. The exhibition features a rare "List of Banned Songs" from the 1970s, highlighting the importance of freedom of expression. Ma emphasized that the list serves as a historical record, reminding visitors to cherish the hard-won freedom of artistic expression in Taiwan, evoking a sense of appreciation and resonance among the audience.

The panelists also explored the influence of American culture on Taiwanese pop music, particularly after the Korean War when the U.S. military was stationed in Taiwan. Chen Te-cheng shared his personal experience of growing up listening to American music on the radio and collecting bootleg records from the U.S. military radio station. The exhibition showcases how this exposure to American culture shaped the development of Taiwanese pop music, leading to the rise of rock and roll and other Western-influenced genres.

Kay Huang expressed her deep emotions during the opening ceremony, stating, "Although Taiwan is small, it is rich in culture, and life is difficult to separate from music. Music has no borders, and after a year of planning, seeing the exhibition successfully open here is truly moving." Huang extended her gratitude to the Taiwan Studies Program at the University of Washington for their unwavering friendship and support in making this exhibition a reality.

"MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!" will be on display at the University of Washington Allen Library North Lobby until May 28. With its limited run in Seattle, the exhibition is a must-see for anyone passionate about music and cultural exploration, as it offers a unique opportunity to discover the rich tapestry of Taiwanese pop music and its ongoing transformation. Following its run in Seattle, TMC plans to bring the exhibition to more cities worldwide, inviting global audiences to experience the captivating journey of Taiwanese pop music.

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