Vedic metal and the South Indian community in Singapore: problems and prospects of identity
Eugene I. DAIRIANATHAN
Abstract Music - when created, performed and responded to - has been considered somewhat paradoxical because of its simultaneity of location between the individual and the social identities. If this analogy is extended to individual (read local/national) and social (read dominant/global), an own-language popular music intersects with its dominant/global practices rendered through music's unique characteristic, its porosity. Given that identities are at once tactically and strategically situated and continuously evolving in relation to their situated environments, this porosity generates problems of identifying the local/ity and identity of situated voices. In this paper, I examine the emergence of a local Extreme metal group Rudra who performed their own compositions at the Outdoor Theatre of the Esplanade. Using their emergence at this highly publicised public space and relying on my e-interviews with the group, their privately held material, newspaper articles and local as well as international interviews posted on the group's website, I consider Rudra's multiplicity of identities, despite the varying levels of consonance and dissonance of these identities. By situating their practice in the local, and by extension, global (Anglophone dominated) practices, I suggest a consideration of their multiplicity of identities as that emerging through a series of socio-cultural, historical and political processes.
Keywords: Extreme metal; Vedic metal; Rudra; South Indian; music; identity; decentralisation
Eugene Dairianathan is currently Associate Professor and Music Coordinator in the Visual and Performing Arts Academic Group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. His research interests are studies of musical practices in Singapore following the award, in 2002, of an NAC Research Grant: A Narrative History of Music in Singapore; 1819 to the Present. Since then, he has been active in promoting much of the NAC research data through local and international publications and conference presentations on interdisciplinary perspectives of music and their impact on music and education.