DakhaBrakha means ‘give/take’ in the old Ukrainian language. And it’s true, we see a real ‘give and take’ with the band’s influences – taking Ukrainian folk music and putting their own unique and theatrical spin on it.
Often accompanied by Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentation, their music is said to elevate folk to the ‘avant-garde’. The diversity of their influences produces a wonderfully baffling and totally addictive wall of sound. Their earthy vocals feature tight harmonies, mashed up with guttural wails and high-pitched yelps. Bass-heavy drumming creates spellbinding rhythms. The interaction between the band members themselves is also truly hypnotising.
Combine this with their outfits (towering black hats made of coarse lamb’s wool paired with lace wedding dresses or embroidered smocks) and the visual effects incorporated into each show, and you’ve got something truly breathtaking. There’s a strong theatrical influence, as DakhaBrakha was created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (DAKH) by the avant-garde theatre director — Vladyslav Troitskyi.
Ice-cold breezes and dark evenings are commonplace for Londoners in the last few weeks of November. On the evening of the 29th, a long queue gathered outside the Oval Space doors, all wearing a respectable range of woolly coats and shaggy caps, warm voices resonating in disparate languages. First come…