Kevin A. Fellezs

Kevin A. Fellezs

Kevin Fellezs is interested in the relationship between the social and the aesthetic as articulated in music and sound. He has written on a wide range of music from fusion (jazz-rock-funk) to Hawaiian music, heavy metal, and enka (a Japanese popular music genre). His current project is focused on the sounds of anthropogenic activity in the ocean and its impact on the more-than-human.

His first book, titled Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funkand the Creation of Fusion (Duke University Press, 2011), is a study of fusion music of the 1970s framed by insights drawn from cultural studies, popular music studies, jazz studies, and ethnic studies. Birds of Fire was awarded the 2012 Woody Guthrie Book Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US Branch (IASPM-US) for the most distinguished English language monograph in popular music studies published during 2011.

His second book, Listen But Don’t Ask Question: HawaiianSlack Key Guitar Across the TransPacific (Duke University Press, 2019), is a transPacific ethnographic study conducted in Hawai‘i, Japan, and California, into the ways in which Kanaka Maoli and non-Hawaiian guitarists articulate Hawaiian values and notions of belonging through their performances of kī hō’alu, or Hawaiian slack key guitar, in those three distinct locations. The book was awarded a 2021 Honorable Mention for the Best Subsequent Book award from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Fellezs has published articles in American MusicJazz Perspectives, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, the Journal of the Society for American MusicMetal Music Studies, and the Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter. He has also published essays in a number of edited anthologies including Alien Encounters: Asian Americans and Popular Culture (Duke University, 2007), Yellow Power-Yellow Soul: The Radical Art of Fred Ho (University of Illinois, 2013), The Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter (Cambridge University, 2016), Racism Postracism (Duke University Press, 2019), and Playing For Keeps: Improvisation in the Aftermath (Duke University Press, 2020). Fellezs serves on the editorial boards for the Journal for Metal Music Studies and the 33 1/3 Japan series and was a Senior Editor for the Grove Dictionary of Music, 2nd Edition.

Fellezs received his B.A. (Music, with an emphasis in jazz studies, 1998) and M.A. (Humanities, 2000) from San Francisco State University and his PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz (History of Consciousness, with a parenthetical in American Studies, 2004). In 2004-6, he held a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Music department at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a Tsunoda Senior Fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, in 2015-16.