Announcing “Wild Music”

“Beautifully written, this vital and sensitive ethnography documents the social, affective, and discursive energies that flow within contemporary Ukrainian music. Sonevytsky highlights the possibilities for imaginative agency that “wild musics” provide, without ignoring the very real constraints that hem in the Ukrainian subjects whose complex personhood is the real focus of this remarkable book.”
­—J. Martin Daughtry, author of Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma, and Survival in Wartime Iraq

What are the uses of musical exoticism? In Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, Maria Sonevytsky tracks vernacular Ukrainian discourses of “wildness” as they manifested in popular music during a volatile decade of Ukrainian political history bracketed by two revolutions. From the Eurovision Song Contest to reality TV, from Indigenous radio to the revolution stage, Sonevytsky assesses how these practices exhibit and re-imagine Ukrainian tradition and culture. As the rise of global populism forces us to confront the category of state sovereignty anew, Sonevytsky proposes innovative paradigms for thinking through the creative practices that constitute sovereignty, citizenship, and nationalism.

MARIA SONEVYTSKY is an assistant professor of music at the University of California, Berkeley. She has performed widely, with several bands including The Debutante Hour, Anti-Social Music, and Zozulka, and produced an album called The Chornobyl Songs Project on Smithsonian Folkways in 2015 with Ensemble Hilka. She has also taught Ukrainian village songs, accordion, and more.