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Analysing Indian Ocean’s Kandisa: a dialogue with decolonisation
Ethnomusicology Forum  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-01, DOI: 10.1080/17411912.2021.1939755
Karishmeh Felfeli-Crawford


This article provides justification for the minority scholar trained in ‘elite’ music analysis (my term) to apply voice-leading analysis to rock band Indian Ocean’s fusion number Kandisa. In so doing, I find a meaningful new way to address decolonisation debates in music. Born and schooled in India, and now based in Ireland, I first reflect on recent tensions around music theory’s white racial frame as argued by Philip A. Ewell in his 2020 article 'Music Theory and the White Racial Frame', for Music Theory Online. I ask what this means for a minority scholar whose non-luxury training in Western art music (henceforth WAM) and its theory has – curiously – placed me on the fringes of music academe. A close reading of Kandisa is presented next, as an engagement with musical minutiae via a language that I argue is far more accessible and meaningful (to me, my fellow Indian friends and colleagues, and the band members themselves) than any ‘Indian’ music terminology. Recognising the potential for this viewpoint to cause a stir amongst ethnomusicologists who have had the double good fortune to train in WAM as well as its Indian counterparts, I recontextualise Kandisa through the lens of decolonisation literature which includes Audra Lorde, Tuck and Yang, and Sunaina Kale, to name just a few.