Lena Dražić
City of Vienna ifk Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. March 2023 bis 30. June 2023

Turbo-Folk and the Meaning of Place. Listening to a Globalised Music Genre in Vienna and Belgrade


On the premisethat the meaning of things arises in social interaction, Dražić assumes that the meaning of the globalized popular music genre ›turbo-folk‹ is generated by specific listeners in their everyday praxis. She conceptualises turbo-folk as a ›travelling concept‹ capable of assuming highly heterogeneous meanings contingent on its historical, geographic, social, economic, and cultural context. Building on the concept of ›cultural translation‹, there will be described the evolution of turbo-folk as a multi-layered translation process. This project investigates the transfer of turbo-folk music to another domain by confronting the respective meanings attributed to it in contemporary Belgrade and Vienna. It will thereby focus on the category of place and its interconnectedness with the meanings ascribed to turbo-folk. In order to determine the various ›affordances‹ that both enable and confine the meanings of turbo-folk, Dražić combines the investigation of its ascribed meanings with an analysis of the musical phenomenon itself.


Lena Dražić studied musicology and philosophy at the University of Vienna. She completed her Ph.D. on the political implications of the discourse on ›new music‹ at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (mdw), where she also participated in the project Changing mdw on the occasion of the university’s bicentennial. In 2021, she carried out a project, subsidized by the Vienna City Council, on the attribution of meaning to the globalized popular music genre ›turbo-folk‹ in Vienna. In 2022, she was awarded a Post-docTrack scholarship at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She is currently conducting a research project on divergent attributions of meaning to turbo-folk music in Vienna and Belgrade. She has worked as a music journalist for outlets including Der Standard, Wiener Zeitung, Falter – Stadtzeitung Wien, Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, mica – music austria, Giornale della musica, skug, and Opernwelt.


»Re-enacting the Trauma. Ritualising Turbo-Folk in Vienna«, in: IASPM Journal [in press]; Politik des kritischen Komponierens. Helmut Lachenmann und ein Diskurs im Feld der »neuen Musik«, Vienna [in press]; »Inclusions/Exclusions. The Field of ›New Music‹ in Europe and Its Boundaries«, in: IRASM 35 (2022), no. 1, pp. 187–206.


Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung




12 June 2023
  • Lecture
IFK & IFK@Zoom

Turbo-Folk and Place. Attributions of Meaning to a Globalised Music Genre

Turbo-folk is a vital part of post-Yugoslav urban life in Vienna. It is also subject to a »cultural translation« affecting both the music and the meanings ascribed to it. Starting from the everyday praxis of its listeners, this lecture explores the manifold meanings of turbo-folk and its musical evolution in relation to the category of »place«.