Dakh Daughters Band, Lviv

dakh Second time around, and it’s still the best show in the world.

Dakh Daughters Band headed to Lviv in Western Ukraine to play two concerts in what is regarded by many as the spiritual capital of the country.

Here Ukrainian is more widely spoken than Russian than in the east, which is regarded as more Russian. And this extraordinary creation is steeped in celebration of the country and its literature.

No point regurgitating what I wrote in April – the full gush is here http://wp.me/p2fLkb-94 – but the show’s depth is revealed when accompanied by someone who speaks Ukrainian.

dakhA pal, Anais, said: “I didn’t think it would be so deep. It was about my life.

“Some of it was about the struggle of Ukrainian women since the communist era.dakh2

She thinks the ‘freak-cabaret’ billing is appropriate. She thinks it speaks to the freakish lives many women have to endure in Ukraine, where beauty is all.

Some songs are set to poems by national hero Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka.

Edith Piaf and 1930s German cabaret songs are also evoked. Language switches keep you on your toes though the passion in the songs is unmistakable.

When main percussionist Ruslana Khazipova brings her big bass drum to the front of the stage and straddles it before banging out a slow, thumping throb of a beat, I imagine very few male audience members didn’t throb in time.

The pain and beautiful music is tough to convey in a review.

Here’s a video I shot from Row 14 near the back of the stalls.

Apologies for the quality of the picture – but the lyrics, in English, are clear and a passable recording of the song has emerged.

Anais says: “There is reference to the madness women here have to endure.

“The word ‘Ukrainian’ is code for ‘prostitute’ in many countries.

“It’s very unfair and it’s very difficult for women in this country now since the 1990s. This is our pain, our shame.”

The show, in all its fabulous glory – and it’s a striking, intellectual, wonderfully entertaining and thrilling event – goes some way to conveying that immense anguish.

More on this amazing band at https://www.facebook.com/DakhDaughters

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