Sound & MusicEar to the Ground

In 2004, RTI host Andrew Ryan began recording the sounds of Taiwan and creating "sound postcards" which he sent to listeners around the world via the air waves.

Now, the sounds of Taiwan take center stage in a new series of 5-minute programs that dig deeper into the stories and people of this island. Join Andrew on this audio journey into the heart of Taiwan and its people.

Click on the icon (↑) above to listen to the latest episode, or select previous episodes from the list below (↓).

What's On

04 July, 2020
Andrew Ryan

If you could turn back time, how far would you go? In today's Ear to the Ground, Andrew Ryan discovers a piece of sound art that makes it possible to wind your clock back to an early point in your day. 

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27 June, 2020
Andrew Ryan

When you think of a noisy kitchen, you probably think of someone loudly stir-frying vegetables, or whacking things into an oven. But at the Noise Kitchen in Taipei there’s no clamorous cooking to be found. In today’s Ear to the Ground, we take a trip to this unique café which is serving up creative sounds without the use of a pot or a pan.

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20 June, 2020
Andrew Ryan

What do you do if you want to say something, but just can’t put it into words? What if you couldn’t even write it down because you came from a culture with no written language? Taiwan’s aborigines have long used music to communicate, and in today’s Ear to the Ground, I bring you a secret language made by a bamboo instrument.

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13 June, 2020
Andrew Ryan

How many 24-hour news channels does a country need? One? Two? Five? How about 13? Seems a bit much, doesn’t it? Well that’s what we have in Taiwan, and those channels have become a fixture in the nation’s soundscape. I’m Andrew Ryan and in today’s Ear to the Ground, I bring you: channel surfing.

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06 June, 2020
Andrew Ryan

Sammy Lin is wrapping thread around his fingers in a little alleyway shop in suburban Taipei. It looks like he’s getting ready to play cat’s cradle. But when he leans in close and begins maneuvering the string across a customer’s face, it’s clear that this is no game. It’s a traditional form of cosmetology. In today’s Ear to the Ground: a closer look at what’s known as wanmian or “threading.”

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