CKYC Master’s Tea with Prof. Grace Wang: Asian Americans and Musical Belonging / 蔡繼有書院院長茶聚:與王琳瑛教授探討“亞裔美國人與音樂”

CKYC Master’s Tea with Prof, Wang was held successfully on 6th April. Asian Americans and Musical Belonging was the topic of the first Master’s Tea in April. Dr. Grace Wang, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis, was the speaker.

How does one break into the American musical scene as Asian American? In pop music, it is difficult outside the Asian community. L.A. Boyz, for example, got their major break in 1992 not in California, where their members first formed their group, but in Taiwan, and is often described (in Wikipedia, for example) as a Taiwan pop/rap group! Similarly, Wang Leehom was often thought of as the “Most famous American whom few Americans know!” One problem maybe because there is no Asian-American musical genre that is broadly accepted outside Asian-American communities. M.C. Jin does achieved popular acceptance by doing hip hop, though.

When asked about the successes of Asian Americans in classical music (Yo Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Seiji Osawa, Lang Lang, come to mind), Prof. Wang explained that they succeed because they excel in a universally accepted medium. Even so, there is often the stereotype that Asian Americans, however technically excellent, are rather wooden in their interpretation.

The event was well attended more than 30 students and the response from the audience enthusiastic. Prof. Wang is currently a Fulbright Visiting Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong.

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亞裔美國人如何進入美國音樂界呢?在流行音樂中,亞裔美國人離開了華人社區便難以發展。例如,在1992年,L.A. Boyz並沒有選擇在加州這個初成立組合的地方出道,而是回到台灣,成為台灣流行說唱組合。同樣,王力宏也被認為是“最少美國人知道的著名美國人”。這個問題可能是因為亞裔美國人的音樂流派在亞裔社區以外沒有被廣泛接受。儘管歐陽靖確實通過hip hop而受到人們的普遍接受,但這種情況仍十分少見。

當被問及亞裔美國人在古典音樂中的成功時(自然會想起馬友友,Sarah Chang,小澤征爾,郎朗),王琳瑛教授解釋,他們的成功是因為他們普遍接受的媒介表現優異。儘管如此,人們還是會有這樣的刻板印象:亞裔美國人技術方面十分優秀,但在表達方面是相當木訥的。