Art Truck Shows initiative to bring Taiwan culture to Malaysia

Four Taiwan singers and musical groups will perform Sept. 22-23 in Penang, Malaysia, under Art Truck Shows Taiwan

Chio-Tian Folk Drums and Art Troupe. (Courtesy of GACC)

Four Taiwan singers and musical groups will perform Sept. 22-23 in Penang, Malaysia, under Art Truck Shows Taiwan, a program organized by Taipei-based nonprofit General Association of Chinese Culture delivering cultural presentations using mobile stage vehicles.

Arranged in line with government efforts to bolster exchanges with Southeast Asia under the New Southbound Policy, the concerts will feature Chio-Tian Folk Drums and Art Troupe; singer-songwriter Enno Cheng; pop vocalist Hsieh Ming-yo; and singer Yen Yung-neng and his musical group Takao Run.

James Chi-ping Chang, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, said the shows mark the first time that performances have been held overseas under the Art Truck Shows program. Taiwan plans to stage further concerts under the initiative in South and Southeast Asia going forward so as to strengthen awareness of local culture and deepen ties with New Southbound Policy target countries, he added.

According to GACC, the use of mobile stage trucks, a long-established practice for presenting shows in Taiwan, will offer Malaysian audiences a unique insight into the nation’s cultural heritage. The performers have also been selected to highlight the country’s languages, musical styles and religious customs, the association said.

Showcasing traditional arts will be Chio-Tian Folk Drums and Art Troupe as well as Yen Yung-neng and Takao Run. The former will present street performances commonly seen during temple festivals, and the latter will deliver powerful renditions of folk songs in Holo, the language of Taiwan’s largest ethnic group.

Singer-songwriters Enno Cheng and Hsieh Ming-yo will spotlight Taiwan’s contemporary music scene. Cheng is known for her solo album “Neptune,” which earned praise for its Mandarin ballads and indie rock songs. Hsieh won the Best Taiwanese Male Singer at the 2013 and 2017 Golden Melody Awards, Taiwan’s equivalent of the Grammys, for his modern take on Holo folk music.

The program has garnered positive coverage from Malaysian newspaper The Sun. According to the daily, the event will bring Penang audiences “top-notch” performers from Taiwan, which the paper described as a “haven of culture and arts.”

Founded in 1967, GACC, headed by President Tsai Ing-wen, aims to foster cultural awareness and exchanges, as well as facilitate the development of local cultural and creative industries. The association has staged more than 130 shows in over 100 townships nationwide under Art Truck Shows Taiwan since the launch of the initiative in 2014.