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Russell Skelchy

Russell Skelchy



As Editor, Russell Skelchy is responsible for literature on the music of Southeast Asia and for RILM’s blog Bibliolore.

Skelchy holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and a MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Riverside. His dissertation is a study of keroncong, a folk/popular music of Indonesia, and specifically, a life history of Waldjinah, keroncong’s most renowned vocalist. It examined how the genre has provided a narrative of modernization in post-independence Indonesia and explored how Waldjinah, as an artist, helped to bind and shape the diverse nation by giving tangible form to the abstract notion of national culture. Skelchy has also conducted research on sound and auditory environments of the Philippines under US colonialism in the 20th century. Dr. Skelchy has completed extended periods of fieldwork in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

His publications have appeared in Ethnomusicology, Sound Studies, South East Asia Research, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Action, and Criticism and Theory for Music Education (ACT). He also has co-edited the volume Sonic Histories of Occupation: Experiencing Sound and Empire in a Global Context, which is scheduled to be published in 2022. Dr. Skelchy has contributed to the volume, Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities (2017).

As a musician, Dr. Skelchy founded the keroncong ensemble, Orkes Pantai Barat (West Coast Orchestra), in 2008 and has performed with the Javanese gamelan and Philippine rondalla ensembles at the University of California, Riverside. He also has been a member of punk and experimental rock bands in the San Francisco Bay Area and has hosted radio shows on college/community stations in California.