‘DakhaBrakha’ Brings Balkan Music to Macey Center

SOCORRO, N.M., November 25, 2014 – For a truly exceptional experience that will transcend the brick-and-mortar configurations of the performance hall, plan to attend the next New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series concert featuring DakhaBrakha.


DakhaBrakha will perform at Macey Center on Wednesday, Dec. 3.


The ensemble, which creates a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture, will appear at Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, as part of the troupe’s 2014-15 U.S. tour.

The name DakhaBrakha is both original and authentic, a translation of the term “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language.

DakhaBrakha traces its beginnings to 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art in the Ukraine by the avant-garde theatre director, Vladyslav Troitskyi, whose influence can be seen in the staging effects of the troupe’s performances.

Working with Troitskyi, known for pushing back the boundaries of contemporary theater, the group resolved to create something radically different. They wanted to experiment, to discover, to put Ukrainian material in a worldly context, without severing it from its traditional connection to land and people.

“The Socorro performance is the final of three New Mexico appearances, after concerts in Albuquerque and Taos,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “From the tall hats they wear onstage, to the tonal blend of traditional Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instrumentation, DakhaBrakha’s performances reflect Eastern European culture as interpreted by members of a younger generation.”

“We just want people to know our culture exists,” said Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”

After experimenting with Ukrainian folk music, the band explored the rhythms of the surrounding world to create fresh melodies, from the soaring vocals to the sounds of accordion, bass drum, mouth harp and cello. The group delivers a mix of everything from punk-pop to traditional Ukrainian songs in layered textures, often with harmonies usually associated with Balkan music.

The ensemble’s three female vocalists spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and visiting with elder women in remote areas. They have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices.

For his part, Halanevych grew up steeped in village life, and draws on his rural upbringing when contributing to the group.

The quartet does far more than introduce UkraInian music or prove it is alive and well. They craft, according to one source, “stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances. With one foot in the urban avant-garde theater scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore.”

“At the same time as we explored ethnic music, we got interested in minimalism, though never in a way that was literal or obvious,” Halanevych said. “The methods of minimalism seemed to us to be very productive in our approach to folk. The atmospheric and dramatic pieces that started our work together were created by following that method.”

DakhaBrakha has played more than 300 concerts and performances and has taken part in numerous international festivals in the Ukraine, Europe, Asia, plus North and South America. In March 2010, DakhaBrakha won one of the most prestigious Grand Prix prizes named after S. Kuriokhin in the sphere of contemporary art and confirmed its actuality once again. In March 2011, DakhaBrakha became the discovery of Australian Womadelaide.

They have earned a host of accolades along the way, including named by Rolling Stone as the huge music festival Bonnaroo’s “Best Break Out” group, in a critique naming DakhaBrakha as bringing in “one of the most responsive crowds of the weekend.”

“DakhaBrakha will appeal to anyone interested in discovering a new form of international music,” Series director Kalish said. “And for anyone interested in an evening of singular entertainment, Macey Center is the place to be on Dec. 3.”

Sponsors for DakhaBrakha are KUNM, Socorro Springs, IRIS-PASSCAL, the New Mexico Tech Graduate Student Association, Student Government Association and America’s Best Value Inn.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $8 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech