News & Activities
Greet autumn with traditional yueqin music in Beitou
By Carol Hsieh
The sixth Taiwan Yueqin and Folk Song Festival, co-organized by Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) and the Taiwanese Yueqin Folk Song Association, kicked off on Sept. 3 with the sound of the traditional stringed instrument floating through the tranquil Beitou Hot Spring Museum. This year also marks the first time the festival has expanded to include surrounding businesses such as the Hong-Gah Museum, Beitou Parent–Child Center, and the Radium Kagaya Hotel, which have also held events.
The yueqin, also known as the “moon guitar”, is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument dating back to the third- to fifth-century Jin Dynasty. The yueqin is now widely used in traditional Taiwanese artistic performances such as Taiwanese opera, nanguan, beiguan, and Chia-ko, and could be considered the unofficial national instrument.
With long-time devotees at the Taiwanese Yueqin Folks Association and associated groups such as the Beitou Hot Spring Museum and DOCA, the annual festival is now a major music event in northern Taiwan and sponsors live performances as well as exhibitions of painted yueqin decorated by renowned artists. This year, works by local painter Tseng Feng-li, who paints on yueqins, cloth, and paper, are being displayed in the museum. Tseng, 87, began her painting career just two years ago, when her daughter discovered her talent and encouraged her to start drawing. She specializes in illustrations of flowers, birds, worms, and fish, using bright, colorful tones with a childlike touch.
Chen Ming-chang, iconic Taiwanese musician, master yueqin player, and founder of the association, said that for years the organization has been dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the traditional instrument. The group holds regular lectures, concerts, training programs, seminars, exhibitions, and music festivals centered around the yueqin.
Other activities this year include an image show, concerts, and seminars on traditional performances with yueqin playing by Taiwanese opera artists, the renowned Japanese Shamisen performing group, and more. The festival will run until Oct. 2. For more information about the festival, please visit the museum’s website at: www.beitoumuseum.taipei.gov.tw or call 02-2893-9981.