Itämaisen naisen representaatiot Sulho Rannan yksinlauluissa Rarahu (1922) ja Aziyadé (1925)
Representations of the oriental woman in Sulho Ranta’s songs Rarahu and Aziyadé
Exoticism is a distinguishable feature in Sulho Ranta’s (1901−1960) 1920s compositions. This study examines how the popular topic of the oriental and exotic woman manifests itself in Ranta’s vocal works Rarahu op. 3a/1 (1922) and Aziyadé op. 10/2 (1925). Aziyadé is previously unexplored and unknown, whereas Rarahu is one of Ranta’s most well-known and performed compositions.
The oriental woman has been a popular part of the oriental imagination in the works of Western artists. This study analyses the representations of the oriental woman in Ranta’s songs in the contexts of exoticism, orientalism and modernism. The songs’ musical analysis emphasises, e.g. gender, sexuality, exotic femininity and nature perspectives. Ranta’s compositions have not been studied from a similar perspective before.
The imagined oriental woman established in Ranta’s songs is an exotic and sexual other, a manifestation of western thinking and oriental fantasies. Moreover, sexual otherness and accentuated eroticism can be mirrored in the conceptions of women within Western society. The representations of the oriental and exotic woman in Ranta’s songs are connected to the general means used in Western art music and create the usual daydream image of the seductive and erotic, exotic female figures. In addition, this study emphasises the cultural continuity these representations inherently belong.