Ethno chaos and freak cabaret – gifts form Dakh 21

Dakh means “give” in old Ukrainian language. It’s also name of a center of contemporary art in the city of Kiev which gave beginning those two amazing formations I am going to mention! My attention brought the name actually “dakh” which was included in names of two music groups I really appreciate. I looked it up and read about this extraordinary place and if you continue reading believe me, you will want to go to Ukraine and visit it yourself! The only one private theater in Ukraine is non-commercial, independent from state’s control in artistic policy in the same time independent from financial support. No support limits but at the same time opens artistic freedom of expression which shows clearly in performances depicting current political situation in the country. Sometimes in an ironic way talks about the war in Ukraine, links controversial and contrasting things. All of those leaded by avant-garde theater director — Vladyslav Troitskyi.

The admission for performances in free however, if you have to make the reservation before and bring your home sleepers. The idea is to make people feel like home, feel comfortable, in a way leave all worries of daily routine outside and just focus on the performance. Theater connects classic art with experimental, modern touch, but first of all focuses on the Ukrainian musical tradition, an attempt to give it a new life in new theatrical forms.

Time to listen some good music and see what Dakh ‘gives’ us!


DakhaBrakha is a quartet which performs traditional Ukrainian folk combining it with musical styles of several ethnic groups. Using Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentation, band creates a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture. They use instruments such as djembe or tabla drums, various types of flute, Spanish cajón, Australian didgeridoo and buhay, a low-tone barrel-like percussion instrument native to Ukraine. Further more, adding rhythms of the surrounding world into their music DakhaBrakha creates unique and unforgettable image.

DakhaBrakha means give/take in old Ukrainian language. Band gives lots of powerful energy through strong voices and experiments with unexpected sounds. They refer their work to  “ethno-chaos” which depicts disorder accompanied the birth of the universe. The musicians of DakhaBrakha – Nina, Irina, Olena and Marco, easily operate within the domains of Ruthenian and non-European folklore, popular dance music and the iterative structures of minimalism.

Dakh Daughters

Dakh Daughters is a theater project came to life in 2012 including artists from DakhaBrakha as well. The band consists of seven women, who play on various instruments and sing in different languages and dialects. They often use texts by famous authors in their lyrics (e.g. Taras Shevchenko, William Shakespeare, Iosip Brodsky, Charles Bukowski).

During their crazy performances, girls go back to the texts of Ukrainian classics, rapping with Shakespeare and referring to folklore. The revolutionary tone of the Dakh Daughters Band concerts has become a peculiar weapon in Kiev in pursuit of freedom. Girls from the Dakh Daughters Band are actively involved in Kievan EuroMedia activities, both through musical performances and by actively supporting the protesters and by providing assistance to groups of volunteers.

They describe themselves as freak cabaret, since their shows are weirdest ever! Songs full of sung-spoken monologues, Ukrainian folk harmonies, percussion, strings, stringed instruments turned into percussion, wailing, weeping, white face paint, moaning and gnashing of teeth. All is a huge dose of energy and insane experience. Adding their involvement into free Ukraine movement makes them even more unique, brave and leaving very strong impression.

“My Sea” it’s a song of Ukrainian artist Kuźma Skriabin from 80s/90s. In the free translation it sounds more or less like: “Let the whole world go away, and I want to stay by myself.” Around are the same crazy people – I’m almost crazy about myself! I’m sick of your bad and abnormal words… I want to be a ship on my sea of dreams… “And the chorus:” It’s my sea, it’s my sea.” This old song’ lyrics were never so up-to-date as now after Kremia annexation, Black See issue.

“Do not regret your deeds any longer: Donbass

The spines have a rose, mud silver brook, Donbass

The sun is dark, the moon is clouded, Donbass

In the sweetest bud there is a nasty worm “

In this composition, Dakh Daughters combined the first four verses of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXXV with the Ukrainian folk song. The verses are pointed out by a strong, shouted “Donbas” in our face – the symbol of Russian aggression in Ukraine.


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