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Exploring Mandopop through and beyond the Western Lens

Exploring Mandopop through and beyond the Western Lens 18 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.1,2011 Whateverfaultmightbefoundinthemetanarrativeofthisbook,themeritsof thisworkfaroutweighitsfaults.TouchingonChina'slegalheritage,competing visionsofmodernity,andthecomplexandviolentpoliticsofthetwentiethcentury,thisbookwillbeindispensableforlegal,cultural,social,andpoliticalhistoriansofChina.Byconcentratingonthetheoryandpracticeofpunishmentsand delineatingdiscreetandrelevanttimeperiods,Mühlhahnconstructsacoherent historicalnarrativeofcriminaljusticeduringexceptionallyturbulentandcontentioustimes.KlausMühlhahn's Criminal Justice in China willundoubtedlybecome essentialreadingforallscholarsinterestedinthetwentieth-centuryeffortsto reformtheChinesecriminaljusticesystem. ThomasBuoye Thomas Buoye is an associate professor and the chair of the History Department at the University of Tulsa. He studies the social, economic, and legal history of late imperial China. MarcL.Moskowitz.Cries of Joy, Songs of Sorrow: Chinese Pop Music and Its Cultural Connotations.Honolulu:UniversityofHawai`iPress,2010.vii, 165pp.Hardcover$40.00,isbn978-0-8248-3369-5.Paperback$24.00, isbn 978-0-8248-3422-7. In1992,AndrewF.JonespresentedhispioneeringstudyLike a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music,whichexploreshowChina'sstatecontrolledmusicindustryandundergroundrocksubcultureplayedtheirpartsin theculturalandpoliticalstrugglesinthe1980s.WhileLike a Knifeisthefirst English-languageworkonpopularmusicincontemporaryChina,thetitlebeing reviewedhereisabsolutelythefirstbook-lengthstudyinEnglishonMandarin Chinesepopularmusic(Mandopop)producedbyTaiwan'smusicindustry.MarcL. Moskowitz'sCries of Joy, Songs of Sorrowaddstowhatwilldefinitelybeagrowing, slowlybutsurely,numberofpublicationsonChinese-languagepopularmusic, apartfromBeijingrock(yaogun),whichhasreceivedmorescholarlyattentionin Westernacademia(forexample,Baranovitch2003). TaiwanhasbeenthedrivingengineoftheMandopopindustrysincethe 1970s.Asindicatedatthebeginningofthebook,itisastonishingthatTaiwan, a landinhabitedby23millionpeople,candictatethemusicaltasteofChina,the © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Features 19 world'smostpopulouscountry,whileunderitsincreasinglymilitary,political,and economicthreat(p.2).HowTaiwan-producedMandopoptakesthemainland audiencebystormisundoubtedlyasubjectworthfurtherresearch.Moskowitz's explorationofculturalconnotationsofMandopopdemonstratestocommentators whoexamineMandopoponlythroughtheWesternlensthatworkonpopular musicfromnon-Euro-Americanareasrequiresadetailedknowledgeofsocial, cultural,andlinguisticcontexts.Throughinterpretivetextualanalysisoflyricsof selectedpiecesandartists'stageimagesinconjunctionwithperspectivesdrawn fromethnographicinterviews,herevealshownewgendervalues,flexibleimages ofperformers,anewmusicalethos,andthepotentialtoallowtheaudienceto expresstheirsentimentshavemadeMandopopfromTaiwanprevailoverother popgenresinChina. TheauthorcollectedmaterialsforthisworkbasicallyinTaipeiandShanghai fromthemid-1990sonward.Ratherthanrelyingsolelyonsubjectiveinterpretationofsonglyrics,healsoexaminesthelocalcultureofKTV,anessential componentoftheMandopopindustry,andmoreimportant,thecomments and attitudesoflocalparticipantsfromtheMandopopscene.Hisinterviews coveredabroadspectrumofinsidersinTaiwan'smusicindustry,including singers,songwriters,producers,andrecordcompanystaff,togetherwithnonprofessionalsfromthegeneralpublic.Theinformationgarneredfromfieldwork notonlydrawsapictureofthesongscapeforthosewhoareinterested in contemporarypopularmusicintheso-calledgreaterChinaareaandother sizableChinese-speakingcommunitiesintheworld,butalsorevealswhatthe localsthinkofandhearinthosesongs.PeterManuelhasremindedusthateven thoughthecommonestformofmusicalacculturationinnon-Westernpopular musicseemstobetheadoptionofWesternelements,thoseforeignelementsmay beadaptedandperceivedbythelocalsindistinctivelyidiosyncraticways,and therearestillsomecentralfeaturesofnativemusicthatremainunaffected(Manuel 1988,p.20).WhatMoskowitzintendstodiscoverinthisbookisexactlythecentral featuresinTaiwan-producedMandopop,whicharecoatedbytheseemingly Westernizedmusicalvarnishandneedtobedetectedbydelvingintovoicesand words. Certainly,thethreecorechaptersdemonstratehowsongsofsorrowfrom TaiwanhavereshapedpopularcultureinChinaandhaveofferedtheaudiencean opportunitytogiveventtotheircriesofjoy.However,someproblemshaveyetto besolved.Thefollowingthreeissuesmaybebeyondtheauthor'sscopeinthis bookbutareessentialenoughtomeritfurtherwork. Seeking Reliable Historical Sources Moskowitzspendstwochaptersonthehistoricalbackgroundoftheriseand developmentofpopularmusicinChinaandTaiwaninmoderntimesbeforehe exploresprevailingthemesandgenderidentitiesinMandopop.However,some 20 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.1,2011 historicalfactsandfigures,particularlythoseaboutpopularmusicinTaiwan,are notcorrect,someofwhicharetheerrorsthathavealreadyexistedinthequoted sourcesandothersofwhicharemisunderstandingsprobablycausedbytranslation.Forexample,"MyChineseHeart"(Wodezhongguoxin),aMandarinsong producedinHongKong,mayberegardedasaGang-Taipopsong(popularsong ofHongKongandTaiwan),butitisunknownasandneverperceivedasacampus folksonginTaiwan(p.22).Inaddition,thereareabout4,000recordsofallgenres releasedbyseveralmajorandminorlabelsinJapanesecolonialTaiwanratherthan 3,500recordssolelyintheHokkienlanguageproducedbyjustonecompany-- ColumbiaRecords(p.31).Columbia'ssingerChunChunhadactuallybeenadiva ofTai aneseoperaratherthanPekingoperabeforeshestartedherpopcareer w (p.32).Inanotherinstance,thelateaboriginalsingerDifang,whosesingingwas sampledinEnigma's"ReturntoInnocence,"wasactuallyfromtheAmistribe ratherthanthePuyuma(p.38).WhatBobbyChenusedin"HappyReunion" (Huanjuge)isquiteanotheraboriginaltuneratherthantheoneextractedin Enigma'swork(p.125). Althoughthesetwochaptersarenotthecoreofthisbook,itisregrettableto seesucherrorswhiletheauthorintendstoofferahistoricalcontextforunderstandingthecontemporaryMandopop.ThisshowstheneedformoreEnglishlanguagepublicationsonthemusicindustryinChinaandTaiwan,withmore comprehensiveandreliablesourcestomeetthegrowingacademicinterestsinEast Asianpopculture. Tracing the Turning Point of Taiwan's Status WhilethehubforMandopopwastransferredtoHongKongafter1949(p.18), TaiwanreplacedHongKongtobecomethefocalpointforMandopopproduction bythetimeCantopoptookshapeinthe1970s.ThechangeofTaiwan'srole deservesmorecoverage,butitwasnotclearlyaddressedinthebook.Themainstreaminthe1950sMandopopscenewaspopularsongsinheritedfrompre-1949 ShanghaiandthoseproducedinHongKongafter1949;therewereveryfewlocal productionsinTaiwan.However,fromthe1960sonward,TaiwanstartedtoproduceitsownMandarinpopularsongsandgraduallymadeitsnameamongother Chinese-speakingcommunitiesinAsia.Taiwanfinallyturnedintothemajor supplierofMandarinpopularsongsaftertheindustryinHongKongdedicated itselfwhollytoCantopopinthe1970s.TheMandopopindustryinHongKong declinedinthelate1970s,ratherthancontinuedtothrive,asmentionedatthe beginningofthebook(p.1).HongKong'sbilingualsuperstars,suchasAndyLau, whoperformbothinCantoneseandinMandarinbasicallyhavetheirmarketof MandarinsongsinTaiwan,andlaterinmainlandChinaaswell.TheirMandarin recordsareproducedandreleasedbyrecordcompaniesinTaiwan.Whatmade Taiwanreadyinthe1970storeplaceHongKong'sstatusintherealmofMandopop isawaitingfurtherstudy. Features 21 Moving beyond Studying Lyrics ThecommentonthenegativeviewsofWesternerstowardMandopopinthe concludingchapterneedstobequalified.TheauthorarguesthatWesternersare http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Exploring Mandopop through and beyond the Western Lens

China Review International , Volume 18 (1) – Aug 9, 2011

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Abstract

18 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.1,2011 Whateverfaultmightbefoundinthemetanarrativeofthisbook,themeritsof thisworkfaroutweighitsfaults.TouchingonChina'slegalheritage,competing visionsofmodernity,andthecomplexandviolentpoliticsofthetwentiethcentury,thisbookwillbeindispensableforlegal,cultural,social,andpoliticalhistoriansofChina.Byconcentratingonthetheoryandpracticeofpunishmentsand delineatingdiscreetandrelevanttimeperiods,Mühlhahnconstructsacoherent historicalnarrativeofcriminaljusticeduringexceptionallyturbulentandcontentioustimes.KlausMühlhahn's Criminal Justice in China willundoubtedlybecome essentialreadingforallscholarsinterestedinthetwentieth-centuryeffortsto reformtheChinesecriminaljusticesystem. ThomasBuoye Thomas Buoye is an associate professor and the chair of the History Department at the University of Tulsa. He studies the social, economic, and legal history of late imperial China. MarcL.Moskowitz.Cries of Joy, Songs of Sorrow: Chinese Pop Music and Its Cultural Connotations.Honolulu:UniversityofHawai`iPress,2010.vii, 165pp.Hardcover$40.00,isbn978-0-8248-3369-5.Paperback$24.00, isbn 978-0-8248-3422-7. In1992,AndrewF.JonespresentedhispioneeringstudyLike a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music,whichexploreshowChina'sstatecontrolledmusicindustryandundergroundrocksubcultureplayedtheirpartsin theculturalandpoliticalstrugglesinthe1980s.WhileLike a Knifeisthefirst English-languageworkonpopularmusicincontemporaryChina,thetitlebeing reviewedhereisabsolutelythefirstbook-lengthstudyinEnglishonMandarin Chinesepopularmusic(Mandopop)producedbyTaiwan'smusicindustry.MarcL. Moskowitz'sCries of Joy, Songs of Sorrowaddstowhatwilldefinitelybeagrowing, slowlybutsurely,numberofpublicationsonChinese-languagepopularmusic, apartfromBeijingrock(yaogun),whichhasreceivedmorescholarlyattentionin Westernacademia(forexample,Baranovitch2003). TaiwanhasbeenthedrivingengineoftheMandopopindustrysincethe 1970s.Asindicatedatthebeginningofthebook,itisastonishingthatTaiwan, a landinhabitedby23millionpeople,candictatethemusicaltasteofChina,the © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Features 19 world'smostpopulouscountry,whileunderitsincreasinglymilitary,political,and economicthreat(p.2).HowTaiwan-producedMandopoptakesthemainland audiencebystormisundoubtedlyasubjectworthfurtherresearch.Moskowitz's explorationofculturalconnotationsofMandopopdemonstratestocommentators whoexamineMandopoponlythroughtheWesternlensthatworkonpopular musicfromnon-Euro-Americanareasrequiresadetailedknowledgeofsocial, cultural,andlinguisticcontexts.Throughinterpretivetextualanalysisoflyricsof selectedpiecesandartists'stageimagesinconjunctionwithperspectivesdrawn fromethnographicinterviews,herevealshownewgendervalues,flexibleimages ofperformers,anewmusicalethos,andthepotentialtoallowtheaudienceto expresstheirsentimentshavemadeMandopopfromTaiwanprevailoverother popgenresinChina. TheauthorcollectedmaterialsforthisworkbasicallyinTaipeiandShanghai fromthemid-1990sonward.Ratherthanrelyingsolelyonsubjectiveinterpretationofsonglyrics,healsoexaminesthelocalcultureofKTV,anessential componentoftheMandopopindustry,andmoreimportant,thecomments and attitudesoflocalparticipantsfromtheMandopopscene.Hisinterviews coveredabroadspectrumofinsidersinTaiwan'smusicindustry,including singers,songwriters,producers,andrecordcompanystaff,togetherwithnonprofessionalsfromthegeneralpublic.Theinformationgarneredfromfieldwork notonlydrawsapictureofthesongscapeforthosewhoareinterested in contemporarypopularmusicintheso-calledgreaterChinaareaandother sizableChinese-speakingcommunitiesintheworld,butalsorevealswhatthe localsthinkofandhearinthosesongs.PeterManuelhasremindedusthateven thoughthecommonestformofmusicalacculturationinnon-Westernpopular musicseemstobetheadoptionofWesternelements,thoseforeignelementsmay beadaptedandperceivedbythelocalsindistinctivelyidiosyncraticways,and therearestillsomecentralfeaturesofnativemusicthatremainunaffected(Manuel 1988,p.20).WhatMoskowitzintendstodiscoverinthisbookisexactlythecentral featuresinTaiwan-producedMandopop,whicharecoatedbytheseemingly Westernizedmusicalvarnishandneedtobedetectedbydelvingintovoicesand words. Certainly,thethreecorechaptersdemonstratehowsongsofsorrowfrom TaiwanhavereshapedpopularcultureinChinaandhaveofferedtheaudiencean opportunitytogiveventtotheircriesofjoy.However,someproblemshaveyetto besolved.Thefollowingthreeissuesmaybebeyondtheauthor'sscopeinthis bookbutareessentialenoughtomeritfurtherwork. Seeking Reliable Historical Sources Moskowitzspendstwochaptersonthehistoricalbackgroundoftheriseand developmentofpopularmusicinChinaandTaiwaninmoderntimesbeforehe exploresprevailingthemesandgenderidentitiesinMandopop.However,some 20 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.1,2011 historicalfactsandfigures,particularlythoseaboutpopularmusicinTaiwan,are notcorrect,someofwhicharetheerrorsthathavealreadyexistedinthequoted sourcesandothersofwhicharemisunderstandingsprobablycausedbytranslation.Forexample,"MyChineseHeart"(Wodezhongguoxin),aMandarinsong producedinHongKong,mayberegardedasaGang-Taipopsong(popularsong ofHongKongandTaiwan),butitisunknownasandneverperceivedasacampus folksonginTaiwan(p.22).Inaddition,thereareabout4,000recordsofallgenres releasedbyseveralmajorandminorlabelsinJapanesecolonialTaiwanratherthan 3,500recordssolelyintheHokkienlanguageproducedbyjustonecompany-- ColumbiaRecords(p.31).Columbia'ssingerChunChunhadactuallybeenadiva ofTai aneseoperaratherthanPekingoperabeforeshestartedherpopcareer w (p.32).Inanotherinstance,thelateaboriginalsingerDifang,whosesingingwas sampledinEnigma's"ReturntoInnocence,"wasactuallyfromtheAmistribe ratherthanthePuyuma(p.38).WhatBobbyChenusedin"HappyReunion" (Huanjuge)isquiteanotheraboriginaltuneratherthantheoneextractedin Enigma'swork(p.125). Althoughthesetwochaptersarenotthecoreofthisbook,itisregrettableto seesucherrorswhiletheauthorintendstoofferahistoricalcontextforunderstandingthecontemporaryMandopop.ThisshowstheneedformoreEnglishlanguagepublicationsonthemusicindustryinChinaandTaiwan,withmore comprehensiveandreliablesourcestomeetthegrowingacademicinterestsinEast Asianpopculture. Tracing the Turning Point of Taiwan's Status WhilethehubforMandopopwastransferredtoHongKongafter1949(p.18), TaiwanreplacedHongKongtobecomethefocalpointforMandopopproduction bythetimeCantopoptookshapeinthe1970s.ThechangeofTaiwan'srole deservesmorecoverage,butitwasnotclearlyaddressedinthebook.Themainstreaminthe1950sMandopopscenewaspopularsongsinheritedfrompre-1949 ShanghaiandthoseproducedinHongKongafter1949;therewereveryfewlocal productionsinTaiwan.However,fromthe1960sonward,TaiwanstartedtoproduceitsownMandarinpopularsongsandgraduallymadeitsnameamongother Chinese-speakingcommunitiesinAsia.Taiwanfinallyturnedintothemajor supplierofMandarinpopularsongsaftertheindustryinHongKongdedicated itselfwhollytoCantopopinthe1970s.TheMandopopindustryinHongKong declinedinthelate1970s,ratherthancontinuedtothrive,asmentionedatthe beginningofthebook(p.1).HongKong'sbilingualsuperstars,suchasAndyLau, whoperformbothinCantoneseandinMandarinbasicallyhavetheirmarketof MandarinsongsinTaiwan,andlaterinmainlandChinaaswell.TheirMandarin recordsareproducedandreleasedbyrecordcompaniesinTaiwan.Whatmade Taiwanreadyinthe1970storeplaceHongKong'sstatusintherealmofMandopop isawaitingfurtherstudy. Features 21 Moving beyond Studying Lyrics ThecommentonthenegativeviewsofWesternerstowardMandopopinthe concludingchapterneedstobequalified.TheauthorarguesthatWesternersare

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China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 9, 2011

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