Peter Pavlensky, recommended by Pussy Riot

First, my hiatus on blog posting is due to having had a child and moved to a new home within the past year. 

I had the chance to see Pussy Riot in conversation as moderated by Karen Finley at Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY. The purpose of their ten city tour was to educate us not on the actions of their past but to let us know about all of the important missions and projects that they are doing now. They shared the work of Peter Pavlensky, who set fire to the doors of Russia's Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in an act of performance art. He is now imprisoned. Look him up. 

The work of Peter Pavlensky, on screen at Hallwalls presented by Pussy Riot

The work of Peter Pavlensky, on screen at Hallwalls presented by Pussy Riot

Dakha Brakha

One of the best things to come from Ukraine is the "ethnochaos" folk band, DakhaBrakha. This was some of the first music I heard when I arrived to Ukraine on my very first visit. A group of friends were blasting it in their car while driving through the windy, bumpy, wintery roads of the Karpaty mountains. They were super proud of this band, the way they have so successfully experimented with Ukrainian folk music to make it new and fresh. The driving drum beats and transnational sound rooted in Ukrainian culture borrows from Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instrumentation.

Take a listen to this (really, really loudly) and check out this great animation:

Their name, DakhaBrakha, means "give/take" in old Ukrainian and they were founded in 2004 at DAKH, the Kyiv Art Center. DAKH was founded by Vladyslav Troitskyi, the theater director responsible for bringing us Gogol Fest. 

Years later, I finally got the chance to see them play live in New York, where I live. The quartet wore unique, homespun versions of traditional costumes, more like a uniform seen at every concert.  Their flawless, powerful, diverse sound gave me chills from the first note. 

From DakhaBrakha's  myspace site

From DakhaBrakha's myspace site

Dakha Brakha at CUNY's Graduate Center in New York, September 19, 2013

Dakha Brakha at CUNY's Graduate Center in New York, September 19, 2013