But a rare excitement still hung in her voice as she’d sing songs by the pop stars of her generation — Tsai Chin of course, and Fei Yu-ching.
Later I learned that my mom was something of a choir star growing up, representing Fengyuan in traveling competitions.
A small number of authors cite written source material recording the impact or effect of sound in certain places; others quote writings that thematize the meanings of music or employ it analogically; still others incorporate anecdotes about sound and music from hagiography.
Several contributors describe images of music making, both vocal and instrumental, and discuss their accuracy and purpose.
That tingling realization that so much remains untold between my parents and me about ourselves and my heritage lingered among my memories as I made my way through The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), which highlights immigrant Chinese relationships with and contributions to music across genres.
Filled with photographs, ephemera, and listening stations covering music from the 1850s to the present, parts of the exhibition felt curiously familiar — as if I knew this culture but I wasn’t sure who told me about it.A horizontal banner printed with explanatory texts spans the length of the gallery.Your eyes and ears should wander through The Moon Represents My Heart, though, before following the text.Seeing a 2003 profile of rapper MC Jin in Elle Girl’s “Our New Crush” column made me think of trying — and failing — to convince my white friends that Jay Chou was as cool as Justin Timberlake.Hearing Broadway actor and folk singer Stephen Cheng waver and croon in Taiwanese over a 1960s Rocksteady beat on “Always Together (A Chinese Love Song)” reminded me of understanding what my grandparents were saying over the phone growing up, but having to respond partly in English.The take-no-prisoners guitar shredding from Emily’s Sassy Lime, a 1990s all-Asian American riot grrrl trio from Southern California, which included artist Amy Yao and her sister Wendy Yao, who founded the legendary punk boutique Ooga Booga in LA’s Chinatown; Burning Star Core founder C.Spencer Yeh’s thumping, burbling sound works that showcase his unlearning of classical music.My family — like many Chinese and Asian American families — struggles to say “I love you,” making the ends of phone calls terribly awkward.But even if it’s not expressed, there’s love in quiet acceptance.A photograph of four young men, dressed in sharp suits, with their jet-black hair slicked into pompadours, made me stop and stare.They were The Cathays, banded together in 1963 in New York’s Chinatown after listening to The Temptations and The Four Seasons.