DakhaBrakha made their debut at The Dakota in August 2014.
Organizers at The Dakota recall preparing for an emotional and heavy performance as conflict had broken out in Ukraine just a few months prior.
While the show was indeed emotional, patrons said it was moving and passionate.
Much like their name, which means “give and take,” the group expresses the realities of day-to-day life but also offers an escape through folklore and music.
In the months following their last showing at The Dakota a new rebel push has begun in Ukraine after a ceasefire in the fall of 2014.
The group returns Monday in what is anticipated to be an equally emotional performance.
The Ukrainian quartet will take the stage at The Dakota beginning at 8 p.m. April 20 and 21. Tickets cost between $32 and $42.
Why did you decide to go with the name DakhaBrakha?
The name is original, outstanding and authentic at the same time.
DakhaBrakha means “give/take” in old Ukrainian language. Our artistic director Vlad Troitskyi found these words in the dictionary, the Grynchenka XIX century edition.
“Dah” is also a place. This was where the group was created – The Centre of Contemporary Arts. The meaning of “giving” is obvious — to give music, joy, celebration, the whole spectrum of emotions, feelings and reflections that fresh music and singing bring with itself. The meaning of “taking,” for us, is exchanging, or circulation, of energy between us and audience, between musicians, between earth and sky.
How does the space at the Dakota lend itself to your performances, which have been said to include a number of physical elements?
The main element [for] all [of our] concerts is the audience, and the people at Dakota are just fantastic. It has an atmosphere of goodwill and openness, which helps to create very special performances for us.
When mixing musical styles, what is your favorite style to work with? (outside of Ukrainian folk)?
This is a complicated question because we don’t have any measures. So, we are open to any inspiration or influences. But the principle of creating music that we follow most closely is classical minimalism. We also try to value every sound and use the simplest patterns in different combinations. For us this process is very natural and gives us a wide field for creation.
How do people in Minnesota respond to the music differently than other states? How do Americans respond differently than people in other countries?
Americans are very open people, so they accept all our music very emotionally. The audiences here are also very attentive, they don’t want to miss any sound or any movements. We appreciate this very much. And this, the DakhaBrakha process like we call it, this give/take, exchanging of energies is very powerful and intense here.
As for Minnesota, it is very special place for us. People here accepted us as old friends from the very first time and we’ve never miss this place in our touring. So, we know this audience, their faces, even the names of some of them. We are especially thankful for this audience. We plan to play several new songs that we’ve not played in U.S. at all and only several times in Ukraine. In this way we want to show special trust and special respect to people who love our music here.
Why do you think music can transcend language barriers? What is it that people connect with if they cannot understand the words?
We think that music is a universal language. If it’s good, it’s good everywhere. People can feel our passion and our emotions; they can create their own images. And if we touch their souls somehow, it means that it’s comprehensible.
What is your favorite country to perform in?
We don’t have a favorite country to play in. We are ready to play almost everywhere, if people are waiting for us. It’s a big honor to share our culture with people throughout the world and to tell a bit more about Ukraine to world. We like to play as much in new places as in familiar places.
What are your favorite song to perform?
It’s impossible to choose. They are like our children. All of them have a special atmosphere, or a special history, or a special instrument or a special memory.
What have you enjoyed most about your time in Minneapolis/Minnesota?
We have not had the chance to to see a lot, but Loring Park is really amazing and remarkable.