Give & Take

29/05/19Ukraine's DakhaBrakha Are At The Forefront Of Eastern Europe's Most Breathtaking Folkloric Fusion

We've been meaning to do a short write-up on DakhaBrakha for a while now. Why? Because they're simply outstanding in what they do and deserve to be heard far beyond the borders of their native Ukraine, where they already enjoy cult status. Don't be mistaken. We are not the first to fall captive to their mesmerising and mystical charm as well as to their innovative blend of "soulful Ukrainian folk with jazz and trance sounds" and more. DakhaBrakha are the real deal, the full musical package in terms of the highly conceptual, performative and visual approach they take to their art.

Over the past 15 years, the quartet has played over a thousand concerts and festivals, bringing their self-proclaimed "ethnic-chaos" to unsuspecting international audiences. And by unsuspecting we mean that until you've heard them live, you literally don't know what you've been missing: "A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music."

DakhaBrakha in the old Ukrainian language means "give/take". Created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (DAKH) by avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskiy, it comes as no surprise that the multi-instrumentalist group's performances verge on scenic theatre productions as they combine the more traditional sounds of their native Ukraine with a plethora of influences from around the globe: "With one foot in the urban avant-garde theatre scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore."

You can watch their full 2017 performance on Seattle's KEXP in the video below (or their previous 2015 KEXP performance right here) to get a better idea of the actual sonic experience we are trying to put into words. More infos and videos here

DakhaBrakha are
Marko Halanevych (vocal, darbuka, didgeridoo, accordion)
Iryna Kovalenko (vocal, djembe, bass drum, accordion, percussion, bugay, zhaleyka)
Olena Tsibulska (vocal, bass floor tom, percussion)
Nina Garenetska (vocal, cello, bass drum)

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom