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Songstress Vienna TENG’s First Asia Tour

发表于 8-24-2014 11:58:25 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Eva Dou, Vienna Teng: From Software Programmer to Folk Singer. China Real Time, Aug 22, 2014.


“Ms Teng said her grandmother fled mainland China for Taiwan in 1949 during the Chinese civil war, and eventually brought her children to the US and Canada.

Ms Teng “now works as a consultant at McKinsey’s Detroit office under her birth name, Cynthia Shih, in addition to writing music. One of the songs she performed Thursday at Taipei’s Riverside Live House was based on the advice her grandmother had given her over the years: ‘Take it from your grandmother I’ve been ‘round/This music career isn’t real life/It won’t see you through to when you’re 65.’

My comment:
(i) Vienna Teng
(July 2, 2014: Asia Pacific Solo Tour Begins August 6 in Australia: "seven countries throughout the month of August" in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan and China)
(ii) Vienna Teng
(born Cynthia Yih Shih in 1978 at Saratoga, Santa Clara County, California; based in Detroit, Michigan)

is 史逸欣 in China and Taiwan, and Vienna Teng in Singapore.

(b) Riverside Music Cafe/Riverside Live House  河岸留言::西門紅樓展演館
(c) “She also met some of her mother’s old classmates, including Taipei Deputy Police Chief Wei Ti-kun, whom she coaxed into joining her onstage for a duet of ‘Edelweiss’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ on Thursday.”
(i) 臺北市政府警察局 副局長 衛悌琨
www.tcpd.taipei.gov.tw/ct.asp?xI ... 45485&mp=108001

There are quite a few deputy police chiefs/commissioners in city of Taipei.
(ii) Edelweiss (song)

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 楼主| 发表于 8-24-2014 11:59:06 | 显示全部楼层
Attached is my Apr 6, 2009 posting at Mitbbs.com about her--in an article of a free local magazine called Improper Bostonian.

发信人: choi (choi), 信区: Taiwan
标 题: Vienna Teng
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Apr 6 14:35:19 2009)

My comment:
(a) Naturally I had not heard of this name until four nights ago, when out of boredom I browsed through an alternative biweekly Improper Bostonian, which is free in Boston but needs subscription outside, presumably to cover the mail and handling costs. Despite face which could come from anywhere like Asia, middle East or America, the story was funny. The more paragraphs I read--I usually read only one or two paragraphs to decide if a book is worth my attention--the more hooked I was. From the last name--the stage name, anyway--I wondered if she is from Taiwan. Indeed she mentioned her root.
(b) By and by I am proud of Taiwan. A small island with a small population, but its people are--and have been--talented. When Chiang Kai shek was president for life, he dreamed about re-conquering China. The education, like everything else, was militaristic; the slogan is "one command, one action." 一個口令一個動作  However people in Taiwan--not just Taiwanese who had been there before 1949 but mainlanders also--acted passive-aggressively and frustrated and modified Chiang's rigid ways every step along the way. That is why, after I came to US and read more horror stories about China, especially during Cultural Revolution, I concluded people in Taiwan would never follow the generalissimo the way Chinese did Chairman Mao.
(c) The photo as well as the story about Ms. Vienna teng can not be found online. So I will retype the story below. (Her photo in Improper Bostonian is magnificent, but I can not find it in the web, not even in her web site.)
(d) A first generation Taiwanese-American, her own web site:

Now that she refers people to Wikipedia in the Bio part of her web site,
this is it:

* The Story:
Paul Robicheau, Music: Transformation; Vienna Teng thinks outside the cubicle as a folk-pop pianist; Vienna Teng plays the Somerville Theater April 7. Improper Bostonian, Apr. 1-14, 2009 (date on the cover).


"Screaming children can be heard in the background when Vienna Teng calls from an auditorium in Germany where she is scheduled to play that night. "It is sort of a daycare center being transitioned into a concert venue," the
singer/pianist explained. "There are these kids rollerblading around the floor where the seats are going to be, and there's a science experiment that involves growing every tall plants in another corner, and there's something
that involves hoisting crates up high and dropping them."

Teng knows how to negotiate extreme transitions. She began piano lessons at age 5 and adopted Vienna Teng as a stage persona at 12 when she decided the name Cynthia Shih didn't cut it. She mixed college-dorm gigs with computer-science studies at Stanford and took a job as a software engineer for Cisco Systems. Then she quit to focus on music, ending up on The Late Show with David Letterman within months.

"I was 23 when I left Cisco, and, at the time, it didn’t seem like that big a deal," says Teng, now 30. "When you're young and you don't have a family and a mortgage, you say, 'I've always wanted to do this. What do I have to

The California native had inked her first record deal with Boston Indie label Virt and knew that she lacked the Cisco vacation days to devote more energy to her music. "Quitting my job was this exhilarating, frightening thing," she says. "Then came the more frightening process of getting up every morning and not having a job and not having a music career yet--and trying to figure out how to make one happen!"

Initial exposure on Letterman didn't hurt. On April 7, Teng releases Inland Territory, her fourth CD and second for Zoe/Rounder label, before heading the Somerville theater that night. The music things appears to be working out.

"I'd dreaming about it from such an early age which is why I came up with the name Vienna," Teng says, adding that she chose the city because it was home to great classical composers )whereas Teng simply looked and sounded better than Shih). "But it took a lot more for me to decide that it was more than a dream and it was worth pursuing--just because I'd grown up in this world where it was such a foreign idea to do anything other than pursue a professional career.

"That's made clear in the new CD's "The Grandmother Song," which shows that Teng's parents weren't alone in feeling trepidation over music as a career path. To understand her grandmother's perspective, Teng spoke to her parents, "to hear more about their history, about what it was like for them growing up, and why they immigrated to the U.S. rather than staying in Taiwan. Then it made a lot of sense."

That song is set to a rustic gospel stomp, a nod to Teng’s homeland as Chinese-American and a stark departure from the light Tori Amos/Sarah McLachlan-style chamber folk of Inland Territory’s opening songs. In turn, the second half of the album strives for more textural grandeur in tracks like “St. Stephen’s Cross” and the propulsive “Augustine.”

Teng also branches into far-flung lyrical personas in the border-crossing tale “No gringo,” “Radio” (which imagines urban warfare at home) and the Klezmer-flavored :In Another Life,” where she sings about mining coal in West Virginia, marching on Tiananmen Square or being married at age 13.

“There was a lot of presumption in these songs,” Teng says. “It was just what I was fascinated with and wanted to write about, and I tried to be as respectful as I could.”

“She also embraces the challenge of performing the disc’s more rhythmic and textural tunes onstage with producer Alex Wong on drums, guitar and vocals, and Ward Williams (ex-Jump Little Children) on cello and electric guitar.

“I’m most comfortable playing in small configurations because you can retain some intimacy both with the audience and the other musicians,” Teng says. “It’s a lot of fun to take songs that you’ve conceived one way in the studio and dress them in completely different clothes.”

It may ne that Teng will change her career clothes again down the road. “I’m trying to look out on the horizon and figure out what the next 10 years look like,” she says, citing interests in social entrepreneurship and economics. However, she also might ease into a songwriting for theater. “It would be a good way to switch into a next phase.”

P.S. The en.wikipedia. has this paragraph: "Although nearly all of Teng's recordings are in English, the hidden track "Green Island Serenade" on Warm Strangers is performed in Mandarin Chinese. The song is a 1950's Taiwanese classic famously performed by Teresa Teng."

I came to realize the Teng in Vienna Teng means 鄧.

Back in 1991 I was a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. Another postdoc, surnamed Teng, said her father was a diplomat or an agricultural expert associated with Taiwan's 農耕隊 and stationed in Africa. She could not speak Chinese. I always thought her family name was 滕.

From the quote above, it dawned on me both my former colleague and Vienna Teng share the last name 鄧. Indeed two noghts ago I came upon an old encyclopedia.org Hutchingson (published in 1987) that referred to China paramount leader as Teng Hsiao Ping (which at that ear could also be spelled as Teng Hsiao-ping, as opposed to Deng Xiaoping within PRC).
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