A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music. This is the self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” of Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, a group that feels both intimately tied to their homeland, yet instantly compelling for international audience.
“We just want people to know our culture exists,” says Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”
The quartet does far more than introduce Ukranian music or prove it is alive and well. They craft stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances. With one foot in the urban avant-garde theater scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore.
“It’s hard to know what to make of Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha when it first arrives on stage—oh, those tall, furry hats! But from the first moment the group starts performing, it’s hard not to get caught up in the magic it weaves… it’s really the live shows that take DakhaBrakha beyond mere curiosity to utter brilliance.”
Cloacas composes the imagined folk music of a fictional country, eclipsing time, tradition, and geography. A tiny mountain orchestra in a wooden box with rusty hinges. Listening to Cloacas is like traveling sideways in time.
“Cloacas turns out predominantly instrumental acoustic-folk tunes that are at times mournful and hypnotizing and at other times almost jazzy and vaudevillian in a playful, semi-improvisational way. It’s the kind of music that deserves to be played over a silent film about being stranded in a dusty Western ghost town with the love of your life, a jug of whiskey (or absinthe), and physical manifestations of your most fond hallucinations and troublesome inner demons.” (Rob DeWalt, Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo)
The Levitt AMP Santa Fe Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private foundation that empowers towns and cities across America to transform underused public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2017, more than 450 free Levitt concerts will take place in 22 towns and cities, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. Learn more at levitt.org.