Last night, my buddy Ted and I took the subway from Islington station to St. George. We found some excellent fish ‘n’ chips at a pub called the Duke of York then walked over to Koerner Hall at the Conservatory for the DakhaBrakha show.
DakhaBrakha is a quartet from Kiev that plays original music rooted in Ukrainian folk music, melded with sounds from other cultures. The result is unlike anything I’ve heard before, and in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is also politically charged. After the first song, Marko Halanevych spoke: “we are DakhaBrakha from Free Ukraine”. Through the performance, there were huge projections behind the band, including in giant letters, in English – statements like: “ARM UKRAINE NOW”, “RUSSIA IS A TERRORIST STATE”, AND “STAND WITH UKRAINE”. The show was tremendously emotional and hypnotic and just brilliant.
This was the first show I’ve seen at Koerner Hall. What a great venue! And Ted managed to get us seats in the second row. Last night’s snowstorm had not started before we entered the facility, but we came out to heavy snow which had already accumulated quite a lot.
If you haven’t heard this incredible group of musicians before, there is a lot of material on the YouTube, including this concert from fall of 2022. Check them out.
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