Nomads in the global soundscape: NeGotiatiNG aesthetics in post-Soviet tuva's traditioNal music productioNs Номады в глобальНом сауНдскейпе: к вопросу об эстетике в традициоННых музыкальНых проектах постсоветской тувы

Beahrs R. O.

New Research of Tuva, no.2, pp.59-110, 2017 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.25178/nit.2017.2.3
  • Journal Name: New Research of Tuva
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.59-110
  • Keywords: Ethnomusicology, Huun-Huur-Tu, Music entrepreneurship, Post-Soviet Tuva, T. Levin, Throat-singing, Traditional music, Tuva Ensemble, V. Suzukei, Worldmusic, Xöömei, Yat-Kha, Z. Kyrgys
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This article explores some of the relationships between ideology, aesthetics, circulation, and agency in productions of “traditional music” and “world music” made by musicians from Tuva, a Turkic-speaking republic in Inner Asia that is now a part of the Russian Federation.Thisarticlecontendsthattheconditions surrounding the dissolution of state socialism in the former Soviet Union laid the groundwork for the meaning and value of culture and identity in post-SovietTuva,includingtraditionalmusic,tobe renegotiated. The intentions of actors and interest groups involved in renegotiating the aesthetics of Tuva's traditional music were diverse and not always consistent. Nonetheless, their efforts in combinationhadtheeffectofrejectingSovietstate-sponsored folkloric models as overly mediated and embracing global music industry models as more representative of “authentic” Tuvan musical practices. Neoliberal “branding” of xöömei throat-singing and Tuvan traditional music within the world music industries produced new forms of meaning and value for Tuvan people in the post-Soviet era. It also gave legitimacy to local projects of postcolonial historiography and precipitated a reevaluation of indigenous culture, language, and identity. This article traces and attempts to disentangle the work of some of the agents who were instrumental in shaping Tuvan musical aesthetics during the 1980s and 1990s, which are foundational to understanding Tuva's contemporary music scenes based in the republic's capital city of Kyzyl.