“Turbo folk rules!” Cover Image

“Turbo folk rules!”
“Turbo folk rules!”

Turbo-Folk, Chalga and the new elites of the post-socialist Balkans

Author(s): Irena Šentevska
Subject(s): Music, Sociology of Culture
Published by: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Fakulta sociálních věd
Keywords: Post-socialism – elite/popular culture;legitimacy;turbo-folk;chalga;identity (national);Serbia;Bulgaria;Balkans;

Summary/Abstract: This paper addresses the role of (neo) folk music industry in the symbolic divisions and identity ‘reshaping’ (national and cultural) of the post-socialist Balkans, with an emphasis on official policies and popular attitudes in two countries, Serbia and Bulgaria. Turbo-folk and chalga, both colloquial but widely adopted terms for ‘modernized folk music’, may be perceived as two names of (more or less) the same phenomenon, which has many counterparts and local varieties throughout the world. The field of popular culture in its ‘post-socialist’ discursive framework is all too often excluded from academic considerations, in spite of its power and efficiency in forging, adopting and disseminating the ideological stereotypes underlying the deep social divisions and ethnic conflicts (not only) in the Balkans. This paper argues that both for its overwhelming presence in the lives of ‘ordinary people’, and for its associations with the national culture and identity, folk music is subject to exceptionally intense processes of manipulation, according to the ideological, cultural and economic (political) interests of the current elites – thus becoming a powerful and malignant vehicle of symbolic divisions on both national and international scales – in spite of (or perhaps due to) its festive and Dyonisian veneer, probably nowhere so eagerly exploited as in the Balkans.

  • Issue Year: 9/2015
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 152-171
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English