January 1st, 2018

My sister-in-law, Shawn, likes to send us music CD’s that are unconventional. For Christmas she mailed us a copy of “Yahudky” from DakhaBrakha. This is one of those albums that provoke unsuspecting persons to exclaim, “What the fuck are we listening to?!” Yes, it is twisted and disturbing, and oh so addictive.

The album cover is, well, odd. It shows some young Ukrainian women dressed in peasant blouses and long, dark skirts. These girls are wearing tall, black, furry hats that make them look like Slavic cone heads. The album has no liner notes. There is a list of the songs on the recording, but absolutely no other information about the band or the music. Thank God for YouTube. Apparently, there is male accordion player, two female drummers, and a female cellist involved in this process. All four of the band members sing… in Ukrainian.

Some of the songs are lively, with a lot of intense drumming. “Sho Z-Pod Duba” is like that. The beat almost feels African at times. The melodies tend to sound Gypsy, or Jewish, or just pagan. The female vocalists somehow remind me of the B-52’s on meth. The singing is often wild and frantic, until they crash, and crash hard.

The band likes to use minor keys. Some of the songs have a deep melancholy sound. The group also has an affinity for sound effects. One song, “Oy, U Kyevi” has the sound of the wind moaning across the steppe. “Na Dobranich” has wolf calls is the background, along with a cello part that sounds like it came from an Apocalyptica album. The vocal harmonies in “Na Dobranich” are eerie and haunting. Think “Sinead O’Conner Meets Dracula”. It’s music for a witch’s sabbath. I mean that in the best possible way.

Yeah, I think I will turn off all the lights, except for a candle or two. Then I’ll make sure the doors are locked, and crank up the music. I have to check if we have any vodka in the house.



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