At first glance there is something suspiciously “arty” about DakhaBrakha.
Attired in exaggerated folk costumes and oversize black lamb-fur head-gear – they play on ethnic stereotypes while at the same time subverting them.
These four trained ethnomusicologists came together in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art «DAKH» under the aegis of the avant-garde theatre director — Vladyslav Troitskyi.
The story goes one of the band members found a double bass in the theater where they used to hang out, and – without knowing the first thing about it – began to play it. Voila, DakhaBrakha was born.
This would reflect very unfavorably on the band, were it not for DakhaBrakha’s highly original sound, which they term “ethno chaos”.
On DakhaBrakha’s new album, “Alambari”, there are a couple of tracks – like Dostochka– which blend Slavic vocals with a ruminative blues mood drawing from an interest in African music.
Elsewhere the group can be experimental, filmic, moody and avant-guard, with minimalist, yet at the same time plaintive sound reminiscent of Janáček with the odd electronic touch. And then all of a sudden, without warning they can break into wild, romping ethno-punk,recalling Haydamaky at its best, replete with vocal trills, bagpipes – as in Torokh.
With feet planted firmly in Ukrainian soil, the band serves up the unpredictable, precisely where one least expects it. “Ethno-chaos”, in short.