|Tuesday, March 20, 2018||4:00PM - 6:00PM||108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place|
This paper concerns the politics and aesthetics of what is known in post-Soviet Ukraine as the avtentyka singing voice (автентичний голос), which translates literally as the “authentic” voice. My focus is on the problem that this avtentyka vocal timbre creates when it appears in the context of a popular reality TV singing competition called Holos Krainy, or “Voice of the Nation,” part of the global “Voice” franchise that has aired in Ukraine since 2011. Beyond the clashes of style and genre that occur when avtentyka singers who use village timbres sing modern pop hits, I attend to a more general politics of vocal timbre to examine how the avtentyka voice, which sits within a historical trajectory of resistance to state power, challenges the conventional wisdom about how the folkloric necessarily points backwards, toward an essentialized national past. Rather, I consider avtentyka and its iconic vocal timbre as a form of late Soviet expressive culture that also has the somewhat paradoxical potential to operate in today’s Ukrainian mediasphere as a forward-looking expressive form. Rooted in ethnographic research among avtentyka practitioners, I examine how the politicized timbres of avtentyka reject logics of success according to the standards of reality TV “democratainment” and remake failure in the competition as an act of refusal—of the limited musical forms that dominate Ukrainian media and as an assertion of the ungovernable wildness of Ukrainian rural expressivity.
Maria Sonevytsky is currently Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Bard College. Her first book, Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, is forthcoming on Wesleyan University Press. In the fall of 2018, she will join the ethnomusicology faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.
Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-946-8900.