Tag Archives: Ukrainian music

Artist profiles: Haydamaky


The Haydamaky began their career in 1991 shortly after Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union. At that time the band was known as Aktus and played mostly local gigs in the underground Kyiv (Kiev) music scene. In the absence of a fertile popular local music scene Aktus turned to the sounds of reggae, ska and punk music for a fresh alternative.
The group was also attracted to the political effect that these genres had on their society. The idea that through music significant social change is possible gave greater purpose to the performance of such musical styles. The discovery of these musical genres later became the key to their own realization of a specifically Ukrainian musical style. Haydamaky’s hope is to forge an inherently Ukrainian popular music style which looks back on its own heritage and traditions as a source for inspiration.

With the addition of sopilka-vocalist Olexandr Yarmola and accordionist Ivan Lenko, both well-known and respected in folk circles the band increasingly incorporated elements of Ukrainian folk music into their compositions.

Since the early 1990s Aktus had engaged in constant touring of Europe. Unlike most popular Ukrainian music groups who propagate Soviet style estrada or copies of Western and American styles Aktus sought to introduce elements of Ukrainian folk music through a cross-cultural mix including reggae and ska.

As of early 2003 the group was discovered in Kyiv (Kiev) by EMI International Records out of London England and was immediately signed contractually to their label. At that time the band realized it was time to establish an even firmer tie to their own culture and changed their name to Haydamaky in honor of the historical Haydamaky rebellion/revolution which took place in Ukraine in the 18th century. This rebellion was a reaction of Ukrainian peasants and serfs against repressive foreign occupation.

The band’s second album is Boguslav. This time the group searched even deeper into Ukrainian folk music for material ideas and textures. The ensemble invited violinist Vasyl Hekker perhaps the foremost authority on authentic Ukrainian folk violin style to collaborate on the project. Also bandurist-guitarist Jurij Fedynskyj of New York (USA) relocated to Kyiv to join the ensemble. Since the recording of the first album and till now Haydamaky collaborated with almost every well known Ukrainian folk music musician of older generations.

The music of Haydamaky is inspired by ethnic musics from various regions of Ukraine such as Polissya Bukovyna and Zakarpathia which includes the Gypsy and Jewish tradition along with pure Ukrainian. Other influences include the punk music of the early Pogues and by the reggae of such bands like Burning Spear and Black Uhuru.

The Haydamaky at present are:

Olexandr Jarmola – vocal sopilka
Ivan Leno – accordion zimbaly keyboards
Ruslan Trochinskyj – trombone
Olexandr Dem-anenko – guitars mandolin
Wolodymyr Sherstiuk – bass drymba
Ruslan Ovras – drums percussion
Eugen Goryslawskyj – trumpet
Wlad Grymalskyj – sound engineer live dub mixing

Additional musicians:

Natalka Sebina – vocals
Maria Firsowa – vocals
Jurij Fedynskyj – bandura
Wasyl Gecker – violin


Haydamaky (EMI)
Boguslav (EMI)
No More Peace (2013)



Ukrainian Flugery Lvova Festival Reveals 2017

Ukrainian spring music festival Flugery Lvova will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. Flugery Lvova will take place April 29-May 1, 2017 at the patio of Lviv City Council in western Ukraine. The festival features a wide range of musical genres, including world music, jazz, blues, rock, ska, reggae, electronic and experimental music. The international festival will present acts from Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Ireland.

The 2017 program includes:

Saturday, April 29th
5:30 p.m.
Propala Hramota (Ukraine)
Lemko Bluegrass Band (Ukraine)
Bria Blessing with Schockolad accompanied by the chamber orchestra (Ukraine-Poland)
Familia Perkalaba (Ukraine)

Sunday, April 30th
10:00 a.m.
Waking up with “Krykhitka” band (Ukraine)
6:00 p.m.
Torban (Ukraine)
Yurodny world-music band (Ireland)
GrozovSka Band (Ukraine)
Gutsul Calipso (Ukraine)

Monday, May 1st
5:00 p.m.
Royalkit (Ukraine)
Siostry Lotry (Poland)
Tik Tu (Ukraine)
Flop (Hungary)
QARPA (Ukraine)

Website: dzyga.com/flugery/en/


A Fascinating Journey Through the Folk Music of Poland, Ukraine and Beyond

Dagadana – Meridian 68

Meridian 68 is a beautifully-crafted production by Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana. The ensemble is well-known for its fusion of Ukrainian and Polish folk music traditions with jazz, electronic music and global music.

On Meridian 68 Dagadana goes back to folk roots. Dagadana collected traditional songs from many regions of Poland, including Kurpie and Wielkopolska, along with Ukrainian and Lemko (an ethnic group found in Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia) folk music. Additionally, there is a song in Chinese recorded in collaboration with Chinese band North Lab, featuring Hassibagen from Mongolia and Aiys Song from China.

All the members of Dagadana are virtuoso instrumentalists and vocalists. The band recreates the traditional material and gives it new life with superb vocal and instrumental arrangements that add jazz techniques, electronic atmospheres and world music elements such as percussion and Mongolian musical instruments.

Dagadana named its fourth album Meridian 68 as a tribute to its experience in Beijing. The 68th Meridian is precisely halfway between Czestochowa (southern Poland) and Beijing, the places where the band recorded the songs.

The lineup on Meridian 68 includes Daga Gregorowicz on vocals and electronics; Dana Vynnytska on vocals and keyboards; Mikołaj Pospieszalski on vocals, double bass, electric bass, and violin; and Bartosz Mikołaj Nazaruk on drums and percussion.

Guests include Aiys Song on cello; Hassibagen on vocals and morin khuur (horsehead fiddle); regular collaborator Frank Parker Jr. on percussion; Marcin Pospieszalski on violin; Szczepan Pospieszalski on trumpet and cornet; and Lidia Pospieszalska on frame drum.

The CD version of Meridian 68 comes in a stunning hard cover book with extensive liner notes including lyrics, credits and illustrations by Ukrainian artist Olya Kravchenko.

Meridian 68 is an outstanding album of contemporary Polish and Ukrainian folk music made by one of the finest world music bands in Eastern Europe.

Buy Meridian 68 in the Americas

Buy Meridian 68 in Europe


Ukrainian Sensation DakhaBrakha to Perform Two Nights at Pace

DakhaBrakha - Photo by Jakub Badelek
DakhaBrakha – Photo by Jakub Badelek

Rising world music act DakhaBrakha is set to perform two shows at Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Center. The Ukranian band will present two completely different programs on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21.

On the first night, (May 20) the group will present music from DhakaBrakha’s critically acclaimed recorded catalog, including their 2014 CD, Na Mezhi and their more recent digital release Light, as well as new music not previously performed in New York City.

Band members include of drummer and vocalist Olena Tsybulska; keyboardist, percussionist and vocalist Iryna Kovalenko; cellist and vocalist Nina Garenetska; and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Marko Halanevych.

DakhaBrakha, which means “give and take” in old Ukrainian, combines soulful folk and ritual songs with Balkan, African, Brazilian, experimental jazz, pop and R&B, performed with vocals, accordion, bass drum, keyboard, mouth harp and cello to create hypnotic textures.

The second evening (May 21) DakhaBrakha will provide the live musical score to a screening of the legendary 1930 Ukrainian silent film masterpiece, Earth. Directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Earth-which captures a moment in time when traditional rural life in Ukraine was about to undergo massive upheaval as a result of overwhelming political forces-was named one of the top 10 greatest films of all time by the International Film Critics Symposium.

“Two Nights with DakhaBrakha”

DakhaBrakha in Concert
Fri May 20, 2016 at 7:30pm

Film Screening of “Earth” with new live score performed by DakhaBrakha (NY debut)

Sat May 21, 2016 at 7:30pm
Pace University / Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts
3 Spruce Street, New York, NY 10038
Tickets: All Seats $29
212-346-1715 http://schimmelcenter.org/events/dakhabrakha