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Maria Sonevytsky

Associate Professor

Professor Sonevytsky’s research focuses primarily on post-Soviet Ukraine, where she has investigated topics such as discourses of sovereignty and “wildness” in post-Soviet Ukrainian popular music, folklore revivals after state socialism, and the effects of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster on the revival of rural musical repertoires. In 2015, Smithsonian Folkways released “The Chornobyl Songs Project: Living Culture from a Lost World,” which she produced and developed in collaboration with Professor Yevhen Yefremov (Kyiv Academy of Music), the Yara Arts Group, and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Her first book, Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, was published in the Music/Culture series of Wesleyan University Press in October 2019.

A secondary area of interest is in critical organology, on the social life of musical instruments and how they inform the aesthetic and political choices musicians make. An emerging area of interest is in Soviet children’s music, a topic Sonevytsky will investigate further during her junior sabbatical, in the spring of 2019.

Professor Sonevytsky received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Columbia University in 2012. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and Columbia. Before moving to Berkeley, she was an Assistant Professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY from 2014-2018.

A performer in many genres, Sonevytsky sings and has been known to play the accordion. For links to her publications and recordings, please visit

Selected Works


2019     Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine. Music/Culture Series. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Journal Articles

2019    “Listening for Dissensus.” Colloquy on Sound and Protest at the Women’s March on Washington, Music & Politics. 13.1 (Winter 2019), pp. 1-7.

2019     “Radio Meydan: ‘Eastern’ Music and the Liminal Sovereign Imaginaries of Crimea.” Public Culture, 31.1, pp. 93-116. .

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.

2008    “The Accordion and Ethnic Whiteness: Toward a New Critical Organology.” The World of Music 50.3, pp. 101-118.

Book Chapters

2018  “Overhearing Indigenous Silence: Crimean Tatars During the Crimean War.” Hearing Crimea: Sound in Nineteenth-Century Wartime, ed. Gavin Williams. London and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 88-104.

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.


2019     “Vocal Anguish, Disinformation, and the Politics of Eurovision 2016.” Guest blog post for Sounding Out! Published online on May 13.

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

2008    “No Other Home: The Crimean Tatar Repatriates.” Triple Canopy and Pressje (in Polish, 2009). <>.