Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Enthusiasts duplicate four records released in 1930s

By Lin Liang-che and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan Phonograph Music Cultural Association member Chiu Ming-chin holds an old “shellac disc,” which is more fragile than a vinyl record, in Changhua County on Thursday last week.

Photo: Lin Liang-che, Taipei Times

A group of vinyl enthusiasts from the Taiwan Phonograph Music Cultural Association has duplicated four original vinyl records by late Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) singer Chun-chun (純純) that were released more than 80 years ago.

The records, which were released between 1933 and 1938, contain the singles Four Seasons of Red (四季紅), Sadness in a Moonlit Night (月夜愁), Longing for the Spring Breeze (望春風), and Flowers in the Rainy Night (雨夜花).

Late lyricist Teng Yu-hsien (鄧雨賢) wrote the lyrics to all four songs.

Since records at that time were made from shellac, they were fragile and difficult to store, association members said, adding that vinyl record collectors do not usually display their collections.

Furthermore, as phonographs were gradually replaced by cassette players, CD players and other audio technology, many vinyl records were thrown away, they added.

Eighty years later, few original vinyl records of the four songs — which are collectively referred to as April Rain (四月望雨) — remain.

The vinyl with the most surviving copies is Sadness in a Moonlit Night, while there are fewer than 10 copies of Longing for the Spring Breeze and Flowers in the Rainy Night, and fewer than five copies of Four Seasons of Red.

Due to the rising popularity of academic research on Hoklo songs and the collection of old records and phonographs, association president Huang Shih-hao (黃士豪) said he has asked association members for copies of the original vinyl records and selected the four that were, to his knowledge, in best condition.

After more than six months of effort, association member Chiu Ming-chin (邱明進) has duplicated the original records.

The sound on the duplicated vinyl is richer and clearer than the original, Chiu said.

Many people want the original version of April Rain reissued, Huang said, adding that they need to overcome copyright issues before that can happen.

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