South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 St. in Cutler Bay, presents Black Creek Nights hosted by Mr. Pauer (deejay) and featuring punkpop world music band DakhaBrakha from Kiev, Ukraine.
The performance is Saturday, Nov. 8. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cover is $10 and can be purchased through the Box Office by calling 786-573-5300 or online at SMDCAC.org.
A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music. This is the self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” of Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, a group that feels both intimately tied to their homeland, yet instantly compelling for international audiences.
“We just want people to know our culture exists,” muses Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha, the remarkable Kiev-based ensemble that has broken down the tired musical framework for Ukrainian traditional music. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”
The quartet does far more than introduce Ukranian music or prove it is alive and well. They craft 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.
Fresh from lauded appearances on Prairie Home Companion and at Bonnaroo, the group is touring the U.S. this winter. Rolling Stone dubbed the band Bonnaroo’s “Best Break Out,” gushing that they had “one of the most responsive crowds of the weekend.”
Refined yet saucy, eerie yet earthy, Ukrainian music has languished in relative obscurity, though its achievements are diverse and sophisticated: complex polyphonic singing with interlocking lines so tight the ears buzz, long and philosophical epics, humorous ditties, instrumental virtuosity, and raucous dance tunes. Ritual and ribaldry, urbane composition and rural celebration, Asian influences and Western harmony all combined to give contemporary musicians a true wealth of potential sources.
DakhaBrakha knows these sources well: the three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and learning from elder women in remote areas. Like these village traditionbearers, they have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices.
Yet the young musicians and actors were determined to break away from purist recreations and from the stale, schmaltzy, post- Soviet remnants of an ideology-driven folk aesthetic. Urged on by Vladyslav Troitsky, an adventuresome theater director at the DAKH Center for Contemporary Art, a cornerstone of the Kiev arts underground, the group resolved to create something radically different.
They wanted to experiment, to discover, to put Ukrainian material in a worldly context, without divorcing it from its profound connection to land and people. That is why tablas thunk and digeridoos rumble, filling out DakhaBrakha’s sound, and yet never overshadow the deeply rooted voices and spare, yet unforgettable visual aesthetic.
The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center’s Cabaret Series takes place in the intimate Black Box Theater space which seats up to 130 people.
The series includes jazz, string groups, flamenco, comedy, burlesque, jazz, Broadway show tunes and soulful singers. The lounge setting has table seating, food, drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.
More information about the center and its programs can be found at www.smdcac.org.