Folk Polyphony Goes Viral

How to Cite

Knight, M. E. (2019). Folk Polyphony Goes Viral: Televised Singing Competitions and the Play of Authenticity in the Republic of Georgia. MUSICultures, 46(1), 128 - 152. Retrieved from


Televised talent competitions have become a global phenomenon, and Georgia is no exception. While such programs usually feature pop-rock repertoire that is often sung in English, numerous performances of traditional folk polyphony have been featured on shows like Georgia’s Got Talent. I examine three diverse case studies, unpacking what each one reveals about the contested understandings of authenticity, heritage, tradition, and folk music in Georgia today, particularly in relation to gender. Debates over the definitions of these terms often mask struggles over power relations at varying scales.