DakhaBrakha has long been a Ukrainian phenomenon: a folk band mixing ethnic sounds and motifs that conquered the western world.
In the latest turn of the group’s international recognition, DakhaBrakha performed at a live show jointly hosted by the world-famous Tiny Desk Concert series of the U.S. National Public Radio, or NPR, and New York-based Globalfest (styled “globalFEST”). The performance was streamed live and published on Jan. 11 on NPR’s YouTube channel.
DakhaBrakha is a favorite of both teams behind “Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST,” a series of live shows put out as an alternative to the annual New York festival. The band first performed at Globalfest in 2014 and was later featured on Tiny Desk Concert in 2015.
“We are thrilled to have them back here tonight,” said the host of the show presenting the band.
Given the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, DakhaBrakha performed at the experimental Dakh Theater building in Kyiv, from where the band originates.
“It’s really nice that we are able to show you a bit of our special place,” frontman Marko Halanevych said during the show. “Nowadays, (we) usually create all our music here, just in this room.”
The festival’s organizers were no less excited to see the Dakh Theater.
“We’ve had them in our spaces, so it’s a real treat to see them in theirs,” reads the description of the video.
DakhaBrakha offered a premiere of a song called “Komora” (“Closet”) and played a piece from their recent 2020 album called “Vynnaya ya” (“It’s my fault”). Using their regular set of instruments — accordion, cello, drums, shakers and reeds — the band delivered another acoustic delight in the genre they call “ethno chaos.”
“Coming together, their performance maintains the energy and joy that define their music, bouncing off each other musically and emotionally,” the description says.
The band’s four members, Nina Garenetska, Olena Tsybulska, Iryna Kovalenko and Halanevych, looked as stunning as usual. Their outfits, often combining long dresses or skirts, huge wool hats, chunky jewelry and embroidery, have long been a trademark that adds to the band’s identity.
Aside from DakhaBrakha, the Jan. 11 show featured three more acts: U.S. band Dedicated Men Of Zion, Algerian-Canadian band Labess and Argentinian singer Sofia Rei.
The “Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST” series will run daily until Jan. 14, with 16 acts in total.
DakhaBrakha was formed in 2004. Their international career took off after the 2013 performance at Toronto’s Luminato Festival. Since then, the group has had over 18 tours around North America, playing at the world’s top festivals and shows by respected media like U.S. KEXP.
American journalist and creator of Tiny Desk Concert Bob Boilen called DakhaBrakha’s 2014 performance for the project his favorite at that moment.
“The creative quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine make music that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard, with strands of everything I’ve ever heard,” he wrote back then.
“I want the world to see this Tiny Desk Concert more than any other right now. It’s refreshing to hear the power of acoustic music and the many worlds of sound still waiting to be explored,” Boilen added.
Read more: DakhaBrakha shows Ukrainian soul to world through songs
The group continued to gain recognition through the world of cinema and commercials.
In 2017, one of its songs, “Sho z-pod duba” (From Under The Oak), was featured on award-winning TV series “Fargo.”
A year later, the same piece was used as a theme in a commercial for grooming brand House 99, founded by English former footballer, fashion icon and designer David Beckham.
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