New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Kevin Fellezs
Listen but Don′t Ask Question: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Across the TransPacific
By: Kevin Fellezs
Performed on an acoustic steel-string guitar with open tunings and a finger-picking technique, Hawaiian slack key guitar music emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. Though performed on a non-Hawaiian instrument, it is widely considered to be an authentic Hawaiian tradition grounded in Hawaiian aesthetics and cultural values. In Listen But Don’t Ask Question Kevin Fellezs listens to Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and non-Hawaiian slack key guitarists in Hawai‘i, California, and Japan, attentive to the ways in which notions of Kanaka Maoli belonging and authenticity are negotiated and articulated in all three locations. In Hawai‘i, slack key guitar functions as a sign of Kanaka Maoli cultural renewal, resilience, and resistance in the face of appropriation and occupation, while in Japan it nurtures a merged Japanese-Hawaiian artistic and cultural sensibility. For diasporic Hawaiians in California, it provides a way to claim Hawaiian identity. By demonstrating how slack key guitar is a site for the articulation of Hawaiian values, Fellezs illuminates how slack key guitarists are reconfiguring notions of Hawaiian belonging, aesthetics, and politics throughout the transPacific.
About the Author:
Kevin Fellezs is Associate Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology and AAADS at Columbia University. He is the author of Listen But Don’t Ask Question: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Across the TransPacific, and Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk and the Creation of Fusion, among other published works.
About the Speakers:
Iokepa Salazar is Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity at Ithaca College. His forthcoming book is First Light: Indigenous Struggle and Astronomy on Mauna a Wākea.
Paige West is Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. She is the author of Dispossession and the Environment: Rhetoric and Inequality in Papua New Guinea, From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social Life of Coffee from Papua New Guinea, and Conservation is Our Government Now: The Politics of Ecology in Papua New Guinea, among other published works.
Aaron Fox is Associate Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He is the author of Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture, among other published works.
Ana M. Ochoa Gautier is Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. Her published works include Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia, Músicas locales en tiempos de globalización, and Entre los Deseos y los Derechos: Un Ensayo Crítico sobre Políticas Culturales.