A Job (at Bard College) and a Postdoc (at U of Toronto)!

I’m so thrilled to make this news official: I’ve accepted a full-time position as an Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College, but am deferring it for a year, during which I will be a Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies in 2013-14. So Franz, baby and I will be Canadians for 9 months, hopefully spending much of summer 2014 in Ukraine, and then relocating to upstate NY in late summer 2014, just about 2 hours north of NYC on the Hudson. Ecstatic about all of it.

Farewell, NYC: last weekend shows and events (April 25-28)

We’re heading to Virginia for the summer, saying goodbye to our sweet strange little Brooklyn home of the last three years, and I’ve got a couple of shows/events lined up for our last weekend in the city:

Thursday, April 25 – Debutante Hour wil play at the swank Manderlay Bar at the McKittrick Hotel at 10 PM (530 W. 27th Street in Manhattan). This is supposed to be an awesome venue, and this will be the last time to hear us live for at least a few months.

Friday, April 26 – Zozulka sings at Columbia University for The Birch, Columbia’s undergrad journal of Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. 7:30 PM. Free admission. Potluck House, 606 114th Street,New York, NY 10027.


Sunday, April 28 – I’ll be leading a singing workshop in Ukrainian lyrical songs for the Ukrainian Village Voices, no prior experience or knowledge of Ukrainian required. Location: All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church (206 East 11th St (btw 2nd and 3rd Aves) in Manhattan), 3-6 PM. Advance tickets are available at: http://villagesongs.brownpapertickets.com/

Lecture and Zozul’ka Performance at the University of Toronto: March 15

I’m very pleased to announce that I will be delivering a lecture titled “Chornobyl Songs: ‘Nature’ After Nuclear Disaster” at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, on Friday, March 15th at 10 AM. The lecture is listed on the events calendar here and is open to the public.

That evening, Zozul’ka (Eva Salina Primack, Willa Roberts, and yours truly) will be presenting a concert of village songs from Polissia and Poltava, including some of the repertoire from the Chornobyl Songs Project. That event will take place at 6 PM in the Piano Room of the Hart House, also at the University of Toronto. Spread the word!


Golden Fest (Jan 19), a grad seminar at Columbia, and Debutantes at Barbes

There are many exciting things on the immediate horizon. Here are the top three:

1. Zozulka will be singing from 8-8:30 PM in the Atrium at this bonanza of a Golden Festival next Saturday, January 19th at The Grand Prospect Hall, the most ostentatious Brooklyn hall of all.


2. I am very pleased to be leading a graduate seminar on “Musical Exoticisms of the Former Soviet Union” at Columbia University this spring semester, where I am a Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harriman Institute. The course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates (and recommended especially for students in Ethno/musicology, Anthropology, and Slavic Studies).

In this course, we explore musical discourses of “civilization” and “barbarism” with a focus on examples from Ukraine, Russia, and Central Asia. The historical scope of the class includes key moments since the 18th century through the present day: from Catherine II’s southward expansion into the territories of the Ukrainian Kozaks and the Crimean Khanate, through the era of romantic nationalism on the eastern borders of Austro-Hungary, through Soviet discourses of musical “progress,” to the changing social and political landscapes of music in the post-Soviet era, to modern political discourses of indigenous rights.

The course will meet once a week, on Thursdays from 10:10AM-12PM, starting on Jan. 24. Please contact me if you are interested in more information on the course. maria.sonevytsky@gmail.com

3. The Debutante Hour will make our grand return to Brooklyn on Thursday, February 7th at the coziest spot in town, Barbes. This show happens to fall on my birthday, and will feature mystery guest musicians, new songs, and possibly some baked goods.

Was it Bing (Damn you, Bing!) who infected my heart with things expected?

About this time last year, The Debutante Hour finally got around to recording one of the very first songs that we ever played in public. And now it’s that time of year again, the perfect time to express that creeping sense of dread that often accompanies the onset of the season. I’m actually really looking forward to Christmas this year, but I think that this song captures something essential about its approach. Listen here: I’m Afraid of Christmas.

I feel it coming on.
I’m feeling wrong right out of the box.
Waking up makes me sad;
I forget why I want what I want.
Every spare moment I’m obsessing
about all the time I spent messing
up, which is just about every relationship I’ve ever had including my parents and probably god.
I feel it coming on,
and it doesn’t make any sense since
my mom’s a Jehovah’s Witness

I’m afraid of Christmas
I’m afraid of it every year.
Every year I think I can beat it; it’s just time.
And I’ve been through time before.

I’m Afraid of Christmas
not for what I won’t get but for what I can’t let go
like last February, like my dad who died eight years ago,
like my favorite hat I remembered as I shut the cab door, that was 2004.
Like everytime someone I loved wanted something from me that I couldn’t give but really I wanted to, which is just about every relationship I’ve ever had including my parents and probably god.
It makes me feel like my life is something warm and satisfying that’s not happening to me but to those nice people over there.
Ex-boyfriends and other things I used to believe in they all start to bother me more that it’s almost Christmas.
I’ve been fooled by this before.

Was it Bing (damn you Bing!)
who infected my heart with things expected
like the notion of some clear emotion —
something you can just feel when you feel it.
That good is just good and everyone has it.
And longing’s just long, and it’s meant to end.
And all you have to do is listen for sleigh bells in the snow…
now I know…

I’m so afraid of Christmas.
You should have seen me last year.
I almost didn’t survive Christmas.
But I’m glad I did, because I get to be with you this year.

Hutsul Koliada at La MaMa

Hutsul koliada at LaMama

Hutsul koliada at LaMama

It’s that time of year again, and Virlana Tkacz of the Yara Arts Group is putting together another inventive winter solstice theatrical event featuring Hutsuls from Kryvorivnia and Kosmach, Ukraine. This year’s event also includes the Lemon Bucket Orchestra from Toronto, Julian Kytasty, and the Shumka dancers from Edmonton. The show runs from December 27 to December 30 at La MaMa in NYC’s East Village. More information about the event is here. This is a rare opportunity to hear music from the Hutsul villages of the Carpathian Mountains on this side of the world and to learn a little bit about this unique cosmological ritual. (Also, if you’re in Philly: on Saturday, December 15 is the Hutsul “Koliada” (facebook event here) at the Ukrainian League of Philadelphia.)

And on December 23rd, the Hutsul ensemble will be playing at Barbes, one of my favorite Brooklyn watering holes.

(Zozulka – my new trio with Eva Salina Primack and Willa Roberts – also has an early show coming up on January 6th at Barbes, and a later set at GoldenFest on January 19. More details on those soon.)