DakhaBrakha Wins globalFEST’s Artist Award

globalFEST presents a series of annual awards that celebrate those that excel in the underrecognized but crucial global music field in the USA.

The awards are presented to artists, professionals, and organizations who have been instrumental in making significant, long-standing contributions to the field through risk-taking; addressing cultural diversity and diplomacy; activism; helping to keep, transmit, and extend the world’s ancient traditions; commitment to working with local communities; and making a difference to the greater American performing arts landscape.

The Artist Award is presented to an artist or group living or working substantially in the USA who has made a lasting impression with their music in the USA, their homeland, or around the world. Whether through innovation, activism, dynamism, or commitment to insuring the next generation will enjoy their music, this award acknowledges the impact artists have at home and abroad.


DakhaBrakha’s Ukraine Update: Dec 2022

Excerpt from interview in the Greek journal Hellas: Posts English

When the war started were you in Ukraine? What is happening in the country right now?

“When the war started we were all in Ukraine. At that particular moment we had started our tour of Ukraine. In fact, we had to travel to another city in the morning, but we woke up and heard shootings, bombings and understood that the war had started.

The first time we were at home, it had been a week maybe more and we realized that this is going to last for quite some time, so we were thinking about what path we could choose to be the most effective for our country. And we chose to do as many concerts as we can around the world.

Two of our members, the girls, will return to Ukraine after our tour abroad. Our families live in Ukraine, others have relatives living abroad, my parents remain in Ukraine and live their daily lives under the shelling and obviously there is this sense of constant terror. This is all turning into genocide. Life in the country is becoming more and more difficult every moment.

Every day we wake up and read the news. Where has there been a new bombing, where has the Russian missile fallen. Today (i.e. the day of the telephone conversation) 4 hours ago there was another bombing and 4 people were killed in Kyiv. Every day this disaster happens. They are destroying our people, our country, our environment, our culture, our memories, everything we have built. And they say that we have no reason to exist as a people.

This is a painful issue, it is a great tragedy and the important thing we want to emphasize is that we need the support of the modern world. Our enemy is too strong and only seeks blood.”


What will we hear in Greece and what are the next plans? Will you go back to Ukraine for concerts when the war is over?

We try to do as many concerts as possible. This is our plan. When the European tour is over we will start a French tour and this summer there will also be an American tour. Consider that we don’t rehearse at all. Our dream is to go back to Ukraine and do a tour there.


“We can’t make any music,” the singer and cellist Nina Garenetska said. “This is our life now: An air raid siren goes off.”

For years, the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha has ended its shows chanting, “Stop Putin! No war!” What they had protested has now come to pass.

DakhaBrakha, based in Kyiv, has long served as ambassadors for Ukrainian music and culture, at once preserving and transforming them. The group gives the polyphonic harmonies of Ukrainian traditional songs a contemporary, internationalist makeover, using African, Australian, Arabic, Indian and Russian instrumentation alongside punk, scatting, hip-hop, trance and dance influences. Their appearance has always been equally striking, especially for the three women in the quartet: towering fur hats, long matching dresses and wildly colorful Iris Apfel-style jewelry.

“DhakhaBrakha often sings about love, heartbreak or the seasons, but as stand-in for bigger things — sometimes political things — and how they do it expands upon Ukrainian traditional music that uses metaphor in this way,” said Maria Sonevytsky, an associate professor of anthropology and music at Bard College, in New York, who devoted a chapter in a recent book to DakhaBrakha and gave a public lecture Wednesday on “Understanding the War on Ukraine Through Its Musical Culture.”

Link to full article

DakhaBrakha – Feature Article

Hailing from Kyiv, Ukraine, World music outfit DakhaBrakha see themselves as ambassadors for their culture, which influences everything from their name (“Give/Take” in Ukrainian) to their outfits. They aim to keep Ukrainian musical and storytelling tradition alive by making it more accessible to a younger, international audience. The result – a musical melting pot described as “ethno-chaos” – bursts at the seams with rhythms, instruments and stylistic effects from across the globe. The question is, have they forsaken their goal in pursuit of this international sound?

Ukraine, as a country, hasn’t had the easiest time of it. Formed in 1917 at the tail end of the First World War, it sits next to Russia amidst constantly changing borders and turbulent shifts of power. Despite gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the nation remains divided, with a largely western faction relishing independence while many in the east yearn to rejoin the USSR.

Ukrainian’s culture remains largely off the map. Once the musical heartland of the Soviet empire, its contribution to music remains somewhat unacknowledged and even within the country folk songs are sometimes eschewed by traditional ensembles. Many within Ukraine see their cultural identity as being under threat, a situation not helped by Russian attitudes towards their independence.

“We thank God and all the generations of people who have fought for our independence and took part in keeping of our songs, language and our traditions.”


While DakhaBrakha choose to stay away from overtly political themes, their simple goal of having Ukraine’s voice be heard could be considered rebellious by certain countries. ‘Considering that Ukraine has a big neighbour which thinks that even the existence of our country is a historical misunderstanding‘ collaborator Marko Galanevych says, ‘every one of our concerts abroad can be regarded as a political act in itself.’ DakhaBrakha certainly make a statement with their appearance, donning striking head-to-toe outfits based on various ethnic cultures.

“For over three hundred years Ukraine didn’t exist on the political world map… The task we set ahead of us now is to reveal Ukraine to the world and more im­portantly to ourselves – Ukrainians.”


The theatrical aspect of DakhaBrakha comes from their origin. They formed in 2004 under the mentorship of theatre director Vladyslav Troitskyi and were initially just the house band at the avant-garde Dakh theatre in Kyiv, an experience to which they attribute to the darkly theatrical tone of their first two albums. Since then they’ve toured the globe but still regard the Brakh theatre as their spiritual home and primary rehearsal space.

Despite incorporating an international plethora of instruments from African drums to the Didjeridoo, DakhaBrakha remain firmly rooted in the sound of Ukraine, featuring instruments like the harmonica, Garmoshka (an accordion typical of the surrounding areas) and Zhaelika, (a single-reed horn instrument that sounds not unlike the bagpipes). They also incorporate the Ukrainian vocal style known as “white voice”, a singing style that utilises the tight register at the top of the chest with an open throat to create a uniquely resonant tone.

[To view this article in full, along with links to audio samples and videos, visit the webpage or download a PDF of the article.]