For the Society of Ethnomusicology meeting in 2011, I created a video that addresses the role of my role as a perform-scholar, instead of a traditional academic paper presentation. This is a 3-part video. In the first part of the video, I discuss my intention to raise the visibility of Asian and Asian American music. I also introduce the medium of the piece – a YouTube video – to enable my messages to spread virally and to give a shout out to the Asian and Taiwanese American stars on YouTube. [Note on the soundtrack: I played the sound of an academic talk and experimental noise to express the disruptive aim of this piece with the respect to the social and cultural invisibility of Asian and Taiwanese Americans]

Part two of the video opens with a story about the Taiwanese American support for the Typhoon Morakot relief efforts for Taiwan. It highlights TaiwaneseAmerican.org for organizing the relief efforts of Taiwanese American musicians, artists, and writers. Inspired by these relief efforts, particularly those of Susan and Emily Hsu of Exit Clov and the Hsu-nami, I organized a benefit concert in my town, Charlottesville, a small college town in central Virginia, bringing together the University of Virginia and the local Taiwanese community. My band Dzian! came together for the purpose of delivering the uber-fun, spectacular performance highlighting the Taiwanese style of Nakashi. The rest of this portion follows the story of how Dzian! spreads the love for the sound of rock and pop music from 1960s and 1970s Taiwan and its neighboring countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

In the last part of the video, I bring the “cultural work” of Dzian! to bear on its social mission of boosting the awareness of Taiwanese and Asian music in North America. I close the video by telling the story of an exchange I had with an older audience member at our performance at the first annual Hello! Taiwan Rocks concert at the Taiwan Center in Flushing. This conversation reminds me of the power of music in creating communities, spaces of comfort to which we, as Taiwanese/Asian Americans could feel like we belong to.

I hope that this video will continue to inspire others — musicians, artists, writers, journalists, academics, and other cultural workers, as well as the working and non-working professionals — to get behind the mission of creating a space of comfort and strength for Taiwanese and Asian Americans.

[The content on this page was originally posted as a feature story on TaiwaneseAmerican.org.]