A Chat With DakhaBrakha – Ukraine’s Biggest Folk Band

My wife and I saw DakhaBrakha perform two years ago in Boston and we had planned to see them again last Fall (the show covid-canceled of course.) I’d describe them as a mix between The Chieftains and the The B52s – only Ukrainian. Totally love them and can’t wait for this damn Covid to end so we can see them again. Below, there’s a wonderful interview with the band’s Marko Halanevych, produced by Oskar Smith for Mouthing Off. Enjoy the read! – The Hobbledehoy

By Oskar Smith

If you haven’t yet delved into the sound of DakhaBrakha, you should. Comprised of Marko Galanevych, Olena Tsybulska, Iryna Kovalenko and Nina Garenetska, they’re a band of trained singers and ad-hoc instrumentalists who started out in 2004 as the musical accompaniment to a small theatre in Kiev and have, over the last sixteen years, toured both domestically and internationally, released five studio albums (six including their collaboration with Port Mone) and adopted styles and instruments from all over the globe, combining them with the traditional sounds and songs of Ukraine in ever more elaborate and ambiguous ways.

Not long after I joined Mouthing Off, we released an article exploring their roots and sound, with an analysis of a few choice bits from their six-album discography – if you want to get to know them a little better it’s not a terrible place to start (especially if you’re on Spotify).

Shortly after, we were contacted by DakhaBrakha’s management, who complimented us on the scope of the article and pointed out a small inaccuracy (hey in fairness, 3299 of the words were accurate). After a brief conversation, they agreed that we could send them a list of questions to be answered by Marko Halanevych. So after a flurry of excited thinking, writing and emailing, this article came about.

The translation has been edited in places for fluency, but mostly left untouched to avoid any kind of misunderstanding or muddied meaning.


What’ve you been up to since your last album?

Marko: We were engaged in quarantine. Some have already become ill with the Coronavirus, some are holding on. We managed to play a few concerts in Ukraine, but the main activity is the time we’ve spent with our families.

When the group got together in 2004, did you have any idea that they would turn into far more than a theatre accompaniment?

Marko: DakhaBrakha was founded in 2004 at the Dakh Theatre in Kyiv.
The founder can be considered the director of the theatre, Vlad Troitsky. Yes, at first we made music for theatre performances. These were musical-visual actions, where everything that sounded from the stage was our music. Later, realising that we had a lot of musical material, we started making our concerts. And this has its buzz. We liked it.

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GasLit Nation: Russian Propaganda as Judge and Jury

Feb 5, 2020

In a week when the GOP Senate will likely take their criminal president and crown him criminal king, we look at the big picture – treason, disinformation, and how to resist. Much like the Senate trial itself, our conversation centers on Ukraine. This week Andrea interviews Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk about how disinformation makes its way from the Kremlin into western media and even into western courts, as demonstrated by a recent court case in Italy in which online Kremlin propaganda formed much of the “evidence”. This situation can happen anywhere, including here in the United States. Andrea and Olga also discuss censorship, state violence, and the difficulties in being a journalist in an era where multiple regimes seek to annihilate the very concept of truth.


Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa are experts on authoritarian states who warned America about election hacking years before 2016. Here, they take a deep dive on the news, skipping outrage to deliver analysis, history, context, and sharp insight on global affairs.

We’re More United Than We Are Divided

December 17

This week we discuss the dueling shitshows of the Boris Johnson sweep in the UK and the ongoing impeachment effort in the US. We debunk the media myths surrounding the British election – no, the loss of Jeremy Corbyn is not an omen of what will happen to Warren or Sanders! – while looking at the way the US and UK situations are linked, namely dark money, Kremlin backers, shady data mining corporations, and mainstream media propaganda. We also discuss what lessons progressives in the US can take away from Corbyn’s disastrous campaign, and how to balance unity with the necessity of diverse opinions in a political movement.Then we discuss the ongoing impeachment effort in the House – which may well have happened by the time you read this post! We stress that the Democrats must not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where they will only be used for a show trial by Republicans who have already declared they have no interest in seriously examining the House’s evidence. Impeachment hearings and investigations must continue – including ones of active criminals like Rudy Giuliani, who is flagrantly confessing to his own offenses because he fears no repercussions. A crisis cannot be resolved when it is not fully exposed. It will only linger and fester if partially examined – and hearings are the strongest tool officials have to fight autocratic consolidation.

For our weekly bonus episode, we discuss how to stay motivated during the nightmare year that will be 2020, and give pragmatic advice for activists involved in campaigns and everyday folks struggling to to save their country. We give tips for responsible citizens with outstanding social skills (Andrea!) and for brooding loners with an irrational fear of the phone (Sarah!) Everyone has something to offer and now is the time to join the fight. To listen to this bonus episode and also get access to all past and future bonus episodes, sign up at the Truth-Teller level of higher on our Patreon.

Listen to this latest podcast episode : We’re More United Than We Are Divided | Gaslit Nation on Patreon

ABOUT GASLIT NATION PODCAST
Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa are experts on authoritarian states who warned America about election hacking years before 2016. Here, they take a deep dive on the news, skipping outrage to deliver analysis, history, context, and sharp insight on global affairs.