Project - DakhaBrakha

Photo: DakhaBrakha (c)

DakhaBrakha: A concert tour in the UK

In July 2014, the Ukrainian ethnic music band DakhaBrakha went on a concert tour to the United Kingdom with support from the British Ukrainian Society. In course of a two-day visit on 26 and 27 July, the band performed at Rich Mix, London, and at WOMAD international music festival held in Wiltshire.

DakhaBrakha’s performance at Rich Mix was part of the Dash Blaze project by Dash Arts, a renowned British cultural foundation. Dash Blaze is a series of performances, events, films, club nights and live music with artists from the post-Soviet countries. DakhaBrakha’s performance drew a large number of contemporary Ukrainian music fans who were also treated to a performance by a talented Ukrainian singer Olesya Zdorovetska that night.

The following day, DakhaBrakha’s performance at WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) was seen by over 5,000 festival visitors. The guests of the festival included Peter Gabriel, a renowned musician and the founder of WOMAD, as well as Sinead O’Connor and Nitin Sawhney. It was also visited by leading British music critics and media.

DakhaBrakha’s performance at WOMAD drew an abundance of positive reviews across the UK. We would like to share some of them below.

“…The most electric welcome was for Ukrainian group DakhaBrakha – a trio of women in white dresses with large Cossack hats and a man playing drums and accordion. A small Ukrainian flag stuck into a djembe drum was the only clue that they’ve done huge concerts in Kiev’s Maidan Square in the recent revolution. But the audience response wasn’t about the politics, but the music. The women sing in close, folk-like harmony while they hammer drums. A moment later they create a field of birdsong and flapping wings with vocal percussion. It’s fresh and very powerful. Certainly a musical revolution.” / by Simon Broughton, the London Evening Standard.

“This was a classic WOMAD, and the most unexpectedly successful, emotional performance came from a band of three women in furry stovepipe hats. DakhaBrakha are from Ukraine and matched edgy, eerie harmony vocals with concertina, cello and percussion work, in an exhilarating set that seemed to sum up their country’s chaos and hope. They veered from moody and atmospheric passages to a furious, exuberant percussive finale in which they waved Ukrainian flags, looking bemused at the delighted reaction they had caused.” / by Robin Denselow, the Guardian.

“If I had to pick the highlight of this sun-drenched WOMAD it would have to be the fresh, emotionally charged set of Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha. I can’t recall seeing such a unanimously positive response for a relatively unknown band at the Festival… It was wonderful to see them totally connect with a receptive audience. Of course, part of the appeal was that they were ambassadors of the Maidan Revolution but sensibly they didn’t hit us with politics, only a flag jammed into an African djembe and an understated mention of “We’re from Free Ukraine.” / by Peter Culshaw, the Arts Desk.