In the latest edition of Penang Monthly Marco Ferrarese’s latest book with SIRD, “Banana Punk Rawk Trails: A Euro-Fool’s Metal Punk Journeys in Malaysia, Borneo and Indonesia” is reviewed.
As the reviewer notes, far from just a history of the extreme metal music scene in Malaysia “it is a documentation of his first-hand experiences as a foreigner playing in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and fast-developing postcolonial music scene between 2010 and 2015”.
Whilst far from a hagiography the reviewer also notes how Ferrarese is critical of certain trends within the Malaysian music scene and in particular its tendency to conform to a globalized reproduction of Western musical and ethical norms. What Ferrarese wants to highlight the reviewer argues is the hybridisation taking place within many Southeast Asian metal scenes, blending Western influenced metal with more local and traditional forms of music producing distinct identities. Thus.
Local bands such as Wynken Delirium that incorporates the gamelan and a few other traditional Malay instruments, or Sil Khannaz and Langsuyr that use the mysticism of traditional Malay culture in their music are perfect examples of hybridisation which Ferrarese finds interesting because it produces a sense of inverted orientalism.
Whilst politically the reviewer notes Ferrarese’s frustration at the unwillingness of the punk scene to involve themselves more politically, Ferrarese also gives a good account of the way in which punk culture utilises “hidden transcripts” to “protest, resist and criticise the powers that be” providing a different understanding of political action. The reviewer then concludes:
Ferrarese has made a great effort in Banana Punk Rawk Trails not only in narrating his journey as a metal punk rock music fan, but also in raising the major issues surrounding the punk subculture in South-East Asia. Through the book, Ferrarese has made metal punk accessible to people of various backgrounds, whether those who are seeking a fun book to read or those pursuing more academic purposes. He has responsibly filled a gap in South-East Asian metal punk studies.
To read the full review click here.