The Tainan-based National Museum of Taiwan History (NMTH) is launching the "Taiwanese Voices: A Century of Listening to Taiwan" program from July 1 through Nov. 30. Built around the museum's collection of albums, along with a series of storytelling performances, theatrical shows, flash mob-style dramas, lectures, and album breakdowns, the program invites the public to experience the diverse, fascinating, and vibrant sounds of Taiwan.
Much of the NMTH's collection comprises of Japanese-era shellac records. The museum invited not only its researchers, but also experienced volunteers and interested members of the public to participate in the vocal interpretation of these shellac records, including comedy albums and spoken-word ones, slowly casting light on the fascinating meanings and stories of these early records.
In addition, the flash mob-style drama "The Lottery Ticket" will be periodically staged at the museum. Based on the 1950s vinyl "The Comedic Songs of Hong Te-cheng and Hsiu Wen," the drama revolves around Taiwan's "Patriot Lottery" of the mid-20th century, with the three characters of A-fen, A-long, and A-song dreaming of hitting the jackpot ― their humorous flights of fancy are sure to entertain visitors who are lucky enough to catch the flash performance.
Over its century-long history, Taiwan's recording industry has left us with a vast amount of material covering different ethnic groups living on the island. In recent years the NMTH has been actively seeking out recorded material, and in 2014 the museum established the "Century of Taiwanese Voices" website, providing information and sound from precious vinyl and shellac records of the past so that the public can explore the sounds of Taiwan from times gone by.
Visitors are cordially invited to the "Taiwanese Voices: A Century of Listening to Taiwan" program, which will also offer stage shows presenting the first Taiwanese record to be banned, talks around Taiwanese-language comedy records, and more from the creators of sound art.