Archive for the ‘DakhaBrakha’ Category


I loved DakhaBrakha’s Tiny Desk Concert.  It was mesmerizing and beautiful.  And so the performers came to SXSW and did a lullaby.  And as the blurb says, they brought their “cello, keyboard, accordion – and tall, wool hats! — to the balcony of the Hilton Austin hotel.”

This lullaby of “Kolyskova” quiets things down a bit.  The song opens with simple keyboard notes.  One of the women sings, and when they reach the end of the verse, the male accordionist sings a falsetto that matches the women’s tone.  The woman on drums makes a strange sound–like a baby crying or animal yelping.

Then he winds up singing lead on the second verse in that falsetto with the women singing backing vocals.  Then the cello and drums kick in to build the sound.   The third verse is sung by the cellist as the keys play a pretty melody.

The song is upbeat with lots of bouncy vocals, even though the lyrics seem rather dark.  ‘The band only ever calls it “Lullaby.” It’s a quiet, contemplative song that the band says is a “connecting of several lullabies” with “philosophical lyrics that [say] we have time for everything — time to laugh and cry, time to live and die.’

I love at the very end as the song slows down to just the keyboardist singing because the drummer adds a very cool breathing as a kind of percussion accompaniment.  And then as the camera pulls back the two attack the keyboard making a cacophony of fun notes.  I bet they’re a lot of fun live.

[READ: June 2 2016] Explorer: The Hidden Doors

This is the third (and I assume final) in a series of graphic novel short stories edited by Kazu Kibuishi, the creator of Amulet.

I really enjoyed the first one a lot and was pretty excited to read the rest. As with the other two I was delighted by the authors involved and the quality of these stories.

The three books are not related to each other (aside from thematic) so it doesn’t matter what order you read them in.

This book revolves around the theme of “hidden doors.”  I like the way each author takes a concept that seems like it would be pretty standard and turns their stories into things that are very different indeed. (more…)

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gambler SOUNDTRACK: DakhaBrakha-Tiny Desk Concert #435 (April 25, 2015).

dkahDakhaBrakha are a band from Kiev, Ukraine.  There are four members, one man (unsure how he is dressed because he plays the accordion which covers his body) and three women.  The women are dressed in fetching white gowns (with lovely detail work done on them) and gigantic woolen “farmer’s hats.”

The women play drums, (with what looks like a wooden spoon), bongos a horn instruments that sounds a bit like a kazoo (I wish NPR gave more details here) and a cello.  They also provide most of the singing.

The first song, “Sho Z-Pod Duba”features bowed cello.  It opens with the male yelling quite loud and some wild yipping and shrieking from the women by the song’s end.

The second song, “Torokh” features lead vocals by the middle woman (the one with the kazoo).  But it also features interesting backing sounds and hums from the other two women.  The cellist (who is plucking the strings like an upright bass) also sings a partial lead vocal.  When the kazoo (which isn’t a kazoo at all, and is more like a penny whistle with some kind of vibrating piece on it) kicks in, the song goes utterly bonkers for a few measures.  The male singer starts yelling and the song is just insane until it stops and slowly builds again.

The end of “Torokh” and a lot of “Divka-Marusechka” has the women singing in the style of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (Bulgarian folk harmonies).  This song is the most unsettling of the three because the accordion and cello play an incessant drone that is a two note lurch.  The male sings lead while the females sing harmony and dissonant harmonies as well as a bird call kind of sound.  The end has one of the women signing an almost hip hop style while the other sings a higher, faster lyrics (all of which is in Ukrainian, so I have no idea what they are saying).

It is a strangely familiar music and yet it is also disconcerting.  I listened to it three times and I loved blasting it in my car–t woks great at loud volumes.  I also want to get one of those hats.

Check it out here.

[READ: March 28, 2015] Never Love a Gambler

This is a collection of three short stories from Irish writer Keith Ridgway.  They are quite dark and explore the criminal underbelly.

“Never Love a Gambler”
In this story we meet a family, the father of which is a gambler.  We meet his son and wife as they talk tough to the loan shark’s thug.  The son is pretty tough, standing up to Mossie, who gets the whole bar quiet when he walks in.  Mossie explains that he has been round to their house and they have some lovely things, but he can’t find the gambler himself.  They tell him that they don’t know where he is and then set out to try to find him.  In the meantime, they find a filthy homeless dog and a boy who is waiting to be picked up by his dad.  And they go on a quest together.  The stories converge in a dark but funny (but actually very dark) way. (more…)

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