Ethno-journalism in Metal Research w/ Edward Banchs

by | Jun 5, 2021 | MMS 101

Ethno-journalism in metal research 

My research has come about because I could not answer a simple question when I was in graduate school: What did I know about metal in Africa? 

Though I was never educated to become a journalist, I have utilized a more journalistic approach in order to properly profile scenes, and their respective nascency’s throughout the continent, as little had ever been published about metal in Africa when I began. My work has since incorporated academic aspects in order to study these scenes more critically, including hybridity between this Western-rooted music and intrinsic sounds and languages from various African nations, as well as how respective political and economic situations have shaped and defined heavy metal scenes in each country.  

Provided that my academic training in political scientist and anthropology was never out of reach, I resorted to consider what I do as ethno-journalism, an approach that provides flexibility between traditional academic methodology and interactions with musicians throughout Africa. Further, this approach is vital as it enables me to consider that no two scenes and countries in the continent are alike as the reality of post-colonial independence has revealed stark inequities. Thus, it is vital for me to consider these differences and inequities when immersing myself in scenes.  

This fieldwork has also provided me with a more expansive view of Africa, as it has enabled me to reach beyond the region of my academic focus – Zimbabwe and South Africa – and into several other countries, including Madagascar, Kenya and Togo, with continued research pending in nations in North Africa and others in West Africa. Needless to say, when discussing Africa and the themes that I can cover, there are multitudes. In the future, I feel that gender, racism and ethnicity are topics that are prime to be unsealed. 

Songs to keep in your ear  

  • Duma, LIONSBLOOD (2020)  Author’s note: this is some weird shit, but I love it! 
  • Arka’n AsrafokorTears of the Dead (2019)  
  • The Drift, SEER (2019)  


Further reading 

Edward’s book Heavy Metal Africa was published by Word Association Publishers in 2017 and can be found here (US) and here (international). 

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