SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Feeling History Through Song: A Close Listening to Taiwan's 'Flowers in the Rainy Night'

Nancy Guy 240 186 56
Speaker: Prof Nancy Guy

Date: 6 July 2016Time: 4:15 PM

Finishes: 6 July 2016Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: DLT

Type of Event: Summer Lecture

SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies 2016 Summer School
Day Two
Fourth Event

CLICK HERE to view the full programme and register to attend free!


Released in 1934, "A Flower in the Rainy Night" (雨夜花) is often considered one of the most heart rending of old Taiwanese songs. Professor Guy's quest for understanding this song's meaning and affective powers was launched on the eve of the 2002 Taipei mayoral election when former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui closed the rally for the underdog candidate by leading a crowd of 50,000 in singing the song. Her analyses of ethnographic, literary, and media sources indicates that this famous old song serves as an elaborating symbol in Taiwan. As such, it aids in conceptualizing the order of the world, making ties between the past and present, and offering visions of alternative futures.

Speaker's Bio

Nancy Guy is an ethnomusicologist whose broad interests include the musics of Taiwan and China, varieties of opera (including European and Chinese genres), music and politics, and the ecocritical study of music. Her first book Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan (University of Illinois Press, 2005) won the ASCAP Béla Bartók Award for Excellence in Ethnomusicology and was also named an "Outstanding Academic Title for 2006" by Choice. Guy's second book, The Magic of Beverly Sills, focuses on the artistry and appeal of the beloved American coloratura soprano, and was published by University of Illinois Press in 2015. Guy is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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