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UCSB Center for Taiwan Studies Co-sponsors a Small Island Big Song Touring Concert

The Small Island Big Song Concert at the UCSB Multicultural Center Theater on April 26

The Center for Taiwan Studies at UCSB has finished a very successful year supporting and promoting the study of Taiwanese culture. It broke new ground by joining with the Multicultural Center, the Department of Theater and Dance, and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music to co-sponsor a Small Island Big Song concert that was performed in the UCSB Multicultural Center Theater on April 26, 2022.

Small Island Big Song was created by BaoBao Chen from Taiwan and Tim Cole from Australia in 2015. Since then, the duo has filmed more than a hundred indigenous musicians from islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and Small Island Big Song has played on stages all over the world, giving concerts that have reached an audience of hundreds of thousands of people.

Roots World described the touring performance as follows: “Everything from water percussion to rapping is employed by musicians representing Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Borneo, Tahiti, Madagascar, Easter Island, Bali, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), Hawaii, Vanuatu, Malaysia and the Solomon Islands. Impassioned choruses are joined with polyrhythmic beats, meditative passages cool the pace between songs tailor-made for dancing, indigenous instruments support modern sensibilities.”

The performers delighted an enthusiastic audience from UCSB and community members with an hour-long feast of sounds and storytelling that gave the experience of island traditions through song and dance. Interweaving their performance with multimedia, the Small Island Big Song artists explained the geography, ecology, and cultures of the oceans through music. This educational and uplifting event was enjoyed by more than a hundred people.

Founded in 2003, the Center for Taiwan Studies at UCSB aims to further support and promote Taiwan-related research of students and faculty members in order to contribute to the creation of knowledge and enhance the global understanding of Taiwanese culture. The Center invests in educating and training young scholars to become specialists in the field of Taiwan Studies, with support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. The courses sponsored by the Center critically illuminate a range of topics in Taiwan Studies. These include courses such as Introduction to Taiwan Literature, Advanced Readings in Taiwan Literature, and Special Topics on Taiwan Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences that take students squarely into the heart of the field. A live concert like this was a unique chance to experience the culture, history and arts of Taiwan and its connections to the Austronesian peoples.

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