The Departments of German & Russian and Music present
Ungovernable Timbres: The Failures of the Rural Voice on a Ukrainian Reality TV Singing Competition
Maria Sonevytsky, UC Berkeley Tuesday 04.07.2020 4:00pm 912 Sproul Hall UC Davis
This lecture focuses on the problems that certain singers create when they participate in the 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. I focus on the politics and aesthetics of what is known in Ukraine as the avtentyka singing voice (автентичний голос), which translates literally as the “authentic” voice. 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. I attend to a more general politics of vocal timbre to ex-amine how the avtentyka voice, which sits within a historical trajectory of resistance to Sovi-et state power, challenges the conventional wisdom about how the folkloric necessarily points backwards, toward an essentialized national past. Maria Sonevytsky is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, was published in the Music/Culture Series of Wesleyan University Press in 2019. She is currently at work on a book on Vopli Vidopliassova’s late Soviet cassette release Tantsi for the 33 1/3 series published by Bloomsbury Press, and a second project on Soviet children’s music.
Light refreshments will be served.
For questions please contact Jenny Kaminer, Russian Program, firstname.lastname@example.org