A War of Songs

The research group “Russian Space: Concepts, Practices, Representations” (RSCPR) at UiT / The Arctic University of Norway is currently preparing a book on popular music and recent Russia–Ukraine relations. The panel at Insomnia Festival 2018 is based upon our findings from the forthcoming book release.

For the past decade and a half, popular music has openly reflected on the increasingly tense relations between Russia and Ukraine. For the average Westerner the controversies surrounding the victory of Crimean tartar singer Jamala at Eurovision 2016 and the non-admission of the Russian singer Yuliya Samoylova to Eurovision 2017 are perhaps the most prominent recent example of this, yet these represent only a fragment of a diverse and complex field. The starting point for the recent developments and the diversification of popular musical responses was the Evromaidan demonstrations in Kyiv in 2013-14. The demonstrations brought forth a regime change, which in turn provoked the Russian annexation of Crimea and armed separatist campaign in Eastern Ukraine. The creative responses to these developments through popular music aptly demonstrate the complexity of the situation, spanning anti-war sentiments, earnest attempts at dialogue, via parody and satire, to war songs and the vilification (from both sides) of an ostensibly fascist/nazi other. With this project we suggest that popular music, which spans events on the ground as well as the realms of both old and new media, plays a prominent role in such events, and correspondingly facilitates a crucial viewpoint for the analysis of the current cultural and geopolitical situation.

SOUND THE MAIDAN! THE MUSIC OF THE UKRAINIAN REVOLUTION
Arve Hansen is a PhD candidate in Russian Studies at the University of Tromsø and writes about protests in post-Soviet countries. Hansen has studied at Norwegian (UiT, HiFM) and Belarusian (ISEU, MGLU) universities, and worked for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia and Ukraine. Previous publications include the article “Maidan Nezalezhnosti: Symbolism and Function” (2016) and the MA thesis “Maidan 2013–2014: Square, protests, driving forces” (2015). Forthcoming: an article on ‘Public Space in the Soviet City: A Spatial Perspective on Mass Protests in Minsk’.

ANTHEM ANATHEMA: RE-INTERPRETING THE RUSSIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM
Yngvar B. Steinholt, associate professor of Russian culture and literature at the University of Tromsø’s Institute of Language and Culture, is author of Rock in the Reservation (MMMSP 2005), co-author of Punk in Russia (Routledge 2014), and has published numerous articles on Soviet and Russian popular music. Within the framework of the RSCPR research group Steinholt is currently embarking on a study of sonic representations of Russia in contemporary culture.

ANSWER SONGS AT WAR: ENGAGING THE ENEMY MUSICALLY
Professor Andrei Rogatchevski (UiT) is a graduate of the Moscow State University (1988, MA equiv. in Russian Language and Literature) and the University of Glasgow (1998, PhD in Slavonic Languages and Literatures). Among his latest books/edited volumes are Filming the Unfilmable: Casper Wrede’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” (2010; 2nd ed. 2014), Punishment as a Crime? Perspectives on Prison Experience in Russian Culture (2014)​ and Russophone Periodicals in Israel (2016).

SONG WARS: POST-SOVIET GEOPOLITICS IN THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
Prof. Dr. David-Emil Wickström studied Scandinavian studies, musicology and ethnomusicology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University of Bergen and University of Copenhagen. He has conducted research on the revival of Norwegian traditional vocal music and the Ragnar Vigdal tradition as well as on Post-Soviet popular music in St. Petersburg and Berlin. He currently is a Professor of popular music history at the Pop Academy Baden-Württemberg (Mannheim, Germany). He is a freelance trumpet player and a founding member of IASPM D-A-CH where he served on the association’s board from 2013 to 2016.

Date / Time
Oct 27 | 12:00
Venue

Tromsø Bibliotek
Grønnegata 94, Tromsø

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