Ukrainian group DakhaBrakha update the traditional folk sounds of their homeland | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Ukrainian group DakhaBrakha update the traditional folk sounds of their homeland

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Since forming more than a decade ago, this energetic, highly theatrical combo from Ukraine have focused on translating the traditional polyphonic vocal tradition of their homeland for a global audience. Impressively, DakhaBrakha have done so without sacrificing their native essence—not even when trafficking in dub and electronic effects or borrowing rhythms from around the world. The four members contribute cello, jaw harp, accordion, and percussion, but the focal point remains the keening Balkan-style vocal harmonies of Iryna Kovalenko, Olena Tsybulska, and Nina Garenetska. The group’s latest album, The Road, doesn’t veer from their previous work, but it does make room for moody explorations like “Chorna Khmarma,” where the group’s sole male member, Marko Halanevych, sings with tender vulnerability over sound samples of wind that are slowly subsumed by droning cello, plangent piano chords, and a funereal beat.   v

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