Perpetual pastness: Premediation in constructing the media representations of female folk singers

Noora Karjalainen English, Department of Language and Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä

This paper is based on my dissertation project and examines how the media representations of female folk singers are constructed in the media. I am especially interested in understanding the ways that the media presentation of female folk singers is based on processes of remembering and premediation. The uniformity of narratives constructing that presentation throughout the analysed media text data suggests that such processes are at work in the construction.  This paper aims to demonstrate how deeply embedded in the cultural memory the imagery of a female folk singer is and how extensively it is used by the journalists, audiences, and the artists themselves alike in constructing the media representations of the singers studied here. In other words, this paper aims to find answer to what makes folk singers folk singers in the media.

To achieve this, I analyse articles, reviews, and interviews written about contemporary folk singers Julie Fowlis, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Emily Portman, and Kate Rusby in order to find out what kinds of narratives construct their media presentation and what kinds of attributes those narratives attach on the singers. The theoretical framework is based on studies about cultural memory, premediation, and nostalgia (Erll 2009, 2011; Keightley & Pickering 2012; Boym 2001; Santesso 2006; Wilson 2014; Media and Nostalgia 2014) and discussions on authenticity (Moore 2002; Keightley 2001; Weisethaunet & Lindberg 2010), performance (Godlovitch 1998; Frith 1996), and internal otherness (Bohlman 2000; O’Flynn 2014; Gelbart 2007).