Journal article

Strings across the ocean: practices, traditions, and histories of the Cocos Malay biola in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean

David RM Irving

ETHNOMUSICOLOGY FORUM | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2019

Abstract

The biola (violin) is an emblematic musical instrument of the Cocos Malay community, who have been based on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands–part of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories–since 1826. In Cocos Malay culture, the biola accompanies local dance genres and occasional performances of bangsawan theatre. Malay melodies constitute the bulk of the repertoire; there are also melodies exhibiting Scottish characteristics. The latter are often attributed to the influence of the Clunies-Ross family, who maintained a commanding presence on the islands from 1827 to 1978. Since the mid-twentieth century, biola playing has been the preserve of two families on the islands and in Western Australia. The..

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Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Council


Funding Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP150103204, `Malay Music and Dance from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands', based at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, the University of Melbourne, 2015-2019.