Bio

Maria Sonevytsky is an assistant professor at Bard College. She completed her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Columbia University in 2012, and wrote a dissertation based on intensive fieldwork in Crimea and Western Ukraine. Recent works include an article in the Journal of Popular Music Studies titled “The Freak-Cabaret on the Revolution Stage: On the Ambivalent Politics of Femininity, Rurality, and Nationalism in Ukrainian Popular Music” (2016), and the “Chornobyl Songs Project” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2015). Her book Wild Music: Sovereign Imaginaries and Popular Music in Post-Soviet Revolutionary Ukraine is forthcoming. In 2018, she will join the ethnomusicology faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.

Project Summary

While scholars have acknowledged the “Soviet cult of childhood” that arose in parallel with the period of Stalin’s iron-fisted rule, a history of Soviet children’s music has yet to be written. This research project examines how children’s songs were used to inculcate the youngest Soviet citizens into specific ways of being. A study of both Russian and Ukrainian-language Soviet Ukrainian children’s media will offer a unique perspective on how publics outside of—and at times, critical of or resistant to—the center of Soviet power were disciplined through the expressive culture of music. Soviet children’s music offers a way to examine not only how the future of socialism was envisioned during Soviet rule, but also how values connected to motherhood, family, and morality were disseminated through practices such as singing in both public and private spaces.

Major Publications

 

1.  2016. “The Freak Cabaret on the Revolution Stage: On the Ambivalent Politics of Femininity, Rurality, and Nationalism in Ukrainian Popular Music.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 28.3, pp. 291-314.

2. 2016. “Late Soviet Discourses of ‘Nature’ and the Natural: Musical Avtentyka, Native Faith and ‘Cultural Ecology’ after Chornobyl.” Current Directions in Ecomusicology (eds. Aaron S. Allen and Kevin Dawe). London and New York: Routledge, pp. 135-146. Co-authored with Adrian Ivakhiv.

3.  2015. “Chornobyl Songs Project: Living Culture from a Lost World.” Smithsonian Folkways, SFW CD 50420.

 

2016. “The Freak Cabaret on the Revolution Stage: On the Ambivalent Politics of Femininity, Rurality, and Nationalism in Ukrainian Popular Music.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 28.3, pp. 291-314.