Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha is bringing ‘ethno-chaos’ to Melbourne and WOMAD in March

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Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha is bringing ‘ethno-chaos’ to Melbourne and WOMAD in March

Words by Staff Writer

Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha to bring one night of unpredictable and electrifying music to Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.

Next year, Melbourne audiences will have the chance to experience Ukrainian music quartet DakhaBrakha’s “ethno chaos” for one unforgettable night at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on 11 March 2024.

Originating from Kyiv, DakhaBrakha’s distinct sound is derived from experimentation with Ukrainian folk music’s traditional four-part harmonies and rhythms from around the world. Each member of the band contributes both their remarkable voice and consummate skill with various instruments, delivering a performance that is near impossible to predict.

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Accompanied by traditional Indian, Arabic, African and Ukrainian instrumentation, their uncompromising vocals – comparable to controlled yelling or shouting – create both tender moments and huge explosions of powerful collective voice.

The mix of contemporary, cosmopolitan sounds and the band’s proximity to local traditions cuts to the heart of DakhaBrakha’s larger objective: bringing awareness to both their young country, and its ancient heritage and traditions.

“We just want people to know our culture exists,” says Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha. “It’s important to show the world Ukraine… there are a lot of wonderful, creative people here, people who are now striving for freedom, for a more civilized way of life, and are ready to stand up for it.”

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine leaves DakhaBrakha unable to perform in their home country, the group have committed to performing “concerts throughout the world to support Ukraine.”

Whilst performing Marko draws upon his rural upbringing, which was steeped in Ukrainian village life. Iryna Kovalenko, Olena Tsybulska and Nina Garenetska DakhaBrakha’s three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling throughout Ukraine, visiting villages, gathering songs and learning from the elder women in remote areas.

Akin to these village tradition-bearers; Iryna, Olena and Nina have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the effortless blend of their voices with Marko’s.

“DakhaBrakha is a complete knock out. Their fusion of traditional folk with contemporary vibe – what they thrillingly call ‘ethno-chaos’ – brings audiences right up close to the living history of Ukrainian culture” said Arts Centre Melbourne’s Programming Director Stephen Armstrong.

“DakhaBrakha pour their hearts and their virtuosity into an intensely enjoyable performance.”

Formed in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (“DAKH”) by the avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskyi, the quartet were named DakhaBrakha, meaning “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language.

In March 2010, DakhaBrakha won the prestigious Grand Prix prize named after composer, Sergey Kuryokhin, solidifying their position in the contemporary arts world. Shortly after, the band were featured in WOMADelaide Festival’s 2011 line-up, introducing them to the international music scene.

DakhaBrakha have since taken part in major international festivals throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America and played more than 300 concerts, including a performance on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert.

Prior to their performance at Arts Centre Melbourne, DakhaBrakha will make a return to WOMADelaide, on 9 and 10 March, 2024. Tickets on sale 31 October 2023 at 11:00am, with early bird tickets available for a limited time only or until sold out.

To join the waitlist and be alerted when tickets are on sale visit