Reviews

Post-Soviet Ukraine emerges in this beautiful and original book as a place of a vibrant musical and sonic culture. Marked by experiment, hybridity, and ‘wildness,’ this scene not only produces remarkably creative musical projects, but also makes new forms of political sovereignty, citizenship and community imaginable. A great achievement.

—Alexei Yurchak, author of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation

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

Sonevytsky’s vivid prose brings together rich ethnography with sophisticated analysis. Through her concept of wildness, she shows how performers disrupt binaries of tradition and modernity, of ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ culture, as they construct their country’s sovereignty. A powerful book!”

—Laada Bilaniuk, author of Contested Tongues: Language Politics and Cultural Correction in Ukraine

“…[M]онографія «Дика музика» є результатом тривалого етномузикознавчого дослідження Марії Соневицької, асистентки кафедри музики в Каліфорнійському університеті Берклі….Дослідниця наголошує, що музика не лише робить естетичний внесок у культуру, а й витворює «візії суверенності» [sovereignty imaginary], може транслювати не тільки бажання (наприклад, лібідальні), а й політичні вимоги. Важливим концептом, характерним для української музики, і зокрема етномузики, є «дикість» [wildness] – полісемантичне слово, яке дістає дедалі більше нових переосмислень у різних історико-політичних і культурних контекстах.”

– Ганна Гнедкова, Критика Феміністична (Червень 2020) | Читайте повну рецензію тут!

“Maria Sonevytsky’s book Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine is a distinguished achievement of contemporary ethnomusicological scholarship…. Sonevytsky offers a nuanced and multidimensional glimpse into the complexities and contradictions of the Ukrainian cultural and political landscape of the last two decades, which she analyses through the lenses of various musical and “sounding” phenomena. The result is both ethnographically rich and theoretically compelling, and exceedingly timely and relevant in its thematic and conceptual delineation.”

– David Verbuč, in Urban People (2/2020) | Read the entire review here!

“…Wild Music offers a very welcome musico-political analysis of a country that continues to inspire controversy and confusion outside its borders, thanks in no small part to Russia’s orientalist attempts to control the global narrative about its neighbour (through now-familiar disinformation tactics). It shows that many musicians and citizens are dreaming of a better future without falling into ethnic exclusivism, while retaining their investment in a state that often fails them. Sonevytsky’s book is grounded, theoretically sound and beautifully written, and it deserves to be read by ethnomusicologists interested in political power, the voice, or post-socialist cultural forms.”

– Matthew E. Knight, in Popular Music (2020; 39/3&4) | Read the entire review here!

“[B]eyond the richness of its ethnographic material, the book offers a meticulous theoretical exploration of the notions of sovereignty and citizenship, as well as their explication as lived experiences of Ukraine’s multiethnic population…. Sonevytsky’s volume stands out as a particularly major achievement, shedding light on the intricate web of identity and belonging in contemporary Ukraine and laying out the essential conceptual groundwork to allow for their further exploration through music.” 

– Iryna Shuvalova, in The Slavonic and East European Review (2021, 99/2) | Read the entire review here!
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