Sheltering in their homes in Kyiv and Baryshivka, Ganna from the Dakh Daughters cabaret troupe and rapper Alyona Alyona speak to us about the cultural sector’s role amid the war in Ukraine. The Dakh Daughters’ participation in an upcoming theatre production in France is now hanging in the balance; Ganna tells us why the all-female punk cabaret has always dealt with politics and current events in their performances. And as one of the only rappers to write and perform in her mother tongue, Alyona Alyona explains how her Ukrainian cultural identity has become an important facet of her music.

“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.”

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Globalfest 2019: 5 Best Things We Saw

As politicians feuded over walls, NYC revelers celebrated diversity at the annual cross-cultural bacchanal

Will Hermes – Jan 9, 2019

Dakh Daughters
An Instagrammer’s dream, this Ukraine sextet seem to have stomped out of an Edward Gorey cartoon or a Brothers Quay film, with cellos, violin, string bass, flute, accordion, guitar and a drum kit, and members in matching black-and-white leggings, goth tutus, mime-style greasepaint, false eyelashes, rouge, black nail polish, and at least one pair of skull earrings. There were plenty of headset mics to go around; headlamps, too. Oh, yeah, the music: spine-tingling Ukrainian folk harmonizing, French rapping and a reggae jam for good measure. There was a song about a cat with lots of meowing, and a risqué sort of can-can routine. The sound occasional recalled DhakhaBrakha, a previous Globalfest act that also hails from Kyiv. But the music might remind you just as much of Tom Waits or Regina Spektor.

Mauro Durante and Justin Adams discuss making the new Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino LP, Meridiana, under Covid-19’s challenging conditions and suspended time.

George de Stefano – May 13, 2021

Like so many bands worldwide, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (CGS) were left stranded by the Covid-19 pandemic, unable to get together to record or perform concerts. For the Southern Italian ensemble, the forced respite brought a decade’s worth of intense activity to a halt. Their exhilarating shows had won them an international fan base and critical raves. They played folk, jazz, and global music festivals like WOMAD throughout Europe, North and South America, and Australia. They released a string of exceptional albums — Focu d’amore (2010), Pizzica Indiavolata (2013), and Quaranta (2015) — that mixed traditional material and new compositions rooted in tradition but attuned, lyrically and sonically, to the present.

[continue reading article and interview HERE]