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(Mis)representation of Burmese metal music in the western media

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Heavy metal music is performed in Burma (also known as Myanmar) by two distinct groups of musicians: generalists, who are part of the mainstream music industry, and underground bands, who differentiate themselves from the mainstream industry in a number of ways. Importantly, the underground performers insist on presenting nothing but their own original songs. Western-educated journalists have recently published a number of articles about these underground bands, equating their original creations with resistance against the military junta that controlled Burma for the past half-century. The author argues that the metanarrative revealed in such media reports does not accord with the nuanced reality on the ground in Burma. Resistance is not the sole province of underground musicians, and underground bands have a number of different priorities.
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Keywords: Burma; Myanmar; media; metal; music; punk; resistance; underground

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Dayton

Publication date: 01 September 2016

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  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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