With a name that means “give/take,” celebrated Ukrainian-folk-meets-punk band DakhaBrakha explores all kinds of old Ukrainian folk styles and other far-reaching global sounds, refracted through the prism of the 21st century and with a highly honed sense of showmanship. Its music is rooted in the sounds of the harmonica, Garmoshka (accordion) and the Zhaelika, (single-reed horn instrument), and enhanced by traditional Indian, Arabic, African and Australian instrumentation.
If you’ve seen DakhaBrakha perform at TD Sunfest before (2023 is their third visit; last summer they had to cancel at the last minute because of COVID), then you’ll know that they operate at the crossroads of Ukrainian folklore and theatre. In fact, the ensemble was created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art «DAKH» by avant-garde director Vladyslav Troitskyi, and their shows have never been staged without mesmerizing scenic effects to complement their astonishingly powerful and uncompromising vocals, known as “white voice”.
The band inhabits a wide musical spectrum: first, intimate; then riotous, plumbing the depths of contemporary roots and rhythms, and inspiring cultural and artistic liberation. For years, DakhaBrakha have called themselves “ambassadors of free Ukraine.” Their concerts have been peppered with trenchant critiques; now, they hear those insights reflected and amplified daily around the world. Indeed, since February of 2022, their music – fierce, exuberant and understitched with playful humor – has had to take on a far more serious and urgent tone.