It's rare to discover a new classification for most bands, no mater how genre-defying they are. However, Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha challenges the norm with their self-proclaimed "ethno chaos." Their style is based on a re-envisioned form of Eastern European roots music that pays homage to the folk sounds of Ukraine, but also incorporates Arabic, Asian and African influences. Their resistance to Ukraine's mainstream music and their tendency to experiment has earned them the title of folk punks, injecting their performances with diverse instruments and oddly hypnotizing chants and harmonies. DakhaBrakha performs at the Yost on Friday, April 10 as part of the traveling art forum Santa Ana Sites, and brings a new breed of world music to downtown Santa Ana.
The group's aesthetic is equally as intriguing as their musical style, thanks to their looming, lambs wool hats, wispy dresses and stockpile of exotic instruments. Their stages are peppered with something from nearly every corner of the world, incorporating the djembe and didgeridoo along with more traditionally identifiable instruments like the cello and accordion. Their vocals are reminiscent of battle cries, but can also saunter into sweet harmonies. DakhaBrakha's vibe extends a sense of liberation, and their fearless interpretation of Ukrainian folk music has landed them at festivals including Bonnaroo, Rosklide, and NPR's globalFest.
The four members met in an underground theater group based in Kiev, but formed DakhaBrakha in hopes of bringing Ukraine's heritage and creativity into a global spotlight. The multi-instrumentalists took the task of fusing authentic sounds with fresh influences seriously. Members Nina Garenetska, Olena Tsibulska, and Iryna Kovalenko went on a quest of sorts into the rural countryside of the Ukraine to collect chants and folksongs from elderly women in remote villages. The group's male member, Marko Halanevych, was exposed to village life as child and according to the group's website, draws on his upbringing for inspiration. DakhaBrakha's dedication to exposing Ukraine's ancestral music is legit, and there's no doubt their performance at Yost will be a walk on the wild side.
DakhaBrakha performs at Yost Theater, 307 N Spurgeon St., Santa Ana, (888) 862-9573; yosttheater.com. Fri., April 10, 8 p.m. $12 presale, $15 day of the show. For more information on DakhaBrakha visit www.dakhabrakha.com.ua. For tickets and more information on Santa Ana Sites visit santaanasites.com.