SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Popular Music and the Sense of ‘Place’ in Taipei and Liverpool: Cases on Mayday, Jay Chou, and the Beatles

Lin Chen-Yu
Lin Chen-yu

Date: 4 July 2017Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 4 July 2017Time: 12:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Summer School

This is part of SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School Programme.
To register to attend please click HERE.


This talk investigates how the sense of ‘place’ is negotiated in popular music, using two cities as case studies. The first city is Taipei, and this talk will discuss the music and fans’ perceptions of two influential pop-music acts from Taiwan: Jay Chou and Mayday; the second city is Liverpool, the talk will explore how the musical history of Liverpool was informed by the Beatles’ fandom and how recent studies and projects enrich or challenge such construction.

Through interviews with music industry workers and fans in and outside of Taiwan, this talk aims to present how popular music negotiates identity, evokes and constructs cultural memories, and triggers a sense of belonging or disconnectedness. The fans’ experience of Jay Chou and Mayday’s music exemplify how music can provide a sense of one place or another, and the boundaries that separate them. This talk probes issues of Taiwanese/Chinese identity in the creation and consumption of music. It also addresses the unintended consequences of Mayday’s transnational fandom, including the fans’ perception of Taiwan. 

Previous projects in Liverpool that explore different layers of the sense of ‘place’ in various communities will be introduced to the audience. These projects employ methods such as filmmaking and mapping. The audience will be invited to take part and draw a musical map of the city they are local. This practice may reflect the relationship between personal memories and the historical narratives of a city’s music history.

CTS-IMG-Lin Chen-yu new


Chen-Yu Lin is a postgraduate researcher and adjunct faculty in the Institute of Popular Music (IPM), Department of Music at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests include Chineseness in Mandarin popular music, music censorship in the People’s Republic of China, cultural identity and politics. She is a documentary producer. The short film she produced and directed, Chasing the China Wind: A Musical Journey, was nominated for Utopian Award in AHRC Research in Film Awards 2016. She is the executive producer for films in George Harrison: The Story of the Beatles and Indian Music, a tribute concert for the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. Chen-Yu is also a columnist for Insight-Post and an occasional writer for other media platforms. She used to work as a research assistant in Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and as a programme assistant in Public Television Service, Taiwan. 

PhD in Music (expecting to finish in 2017), University of Liverpool, UK; MA in Popular Music Studies (Distinction), University of Liverpool, UK; BA in Radio and Television, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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