Kami semua headbangers: heavy metal as multiethnic community builder in Penang Island, Malaysia

Marco Ferrarese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates how heavy metal music promotes the development of multiethnic community interactions by focusing on Penang Island, Malaysia as a case study, where individuals of different ethnic backgrounds have intermingled in the heavy metal music scene as a consequence of the dearth of spaces dedicated to the practice and performance of such music. Through the use of ethnographic participant observation over the course of two years (2011-2013), I demonstrate how the heavy metal music scene in early 2010s Penang had outgrown the country s ethnic structure in which heavy metal music was used to build a community where musicians of different ethnic backgrounds interact in settings where ethnicity is of reduced salience. Fostered by the forced cohabitation of the scarce spaces dedicated to extreme music practices in the country, I argue that the case of Penang s heavy metal music scene outlines how the localization of imported forms of western popular music in a fast developing South East Asian society have challenged and reconfigured ethnic boundaries that are frequently reified in and through public and political discourses. (c) 2014 Intellect Ltd Article. English language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153 - 171
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Community Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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