Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Dakha Brakha

 I saw DakhaBrakha the other night in Albany NY, with friends. And it blew my mind.

As far as I know, the "natural singing" or "open throat" singing style doesn't really have a name. Apparently in Ukrainian it's called "vox popular" or something like that. Between this concert and the concert a week before of Thaikkudam Bridge I got to listen to a lot of amazing popular song with interesting harmonic and melodic modulations. 

Dakha Brakha 

The Dakha Brakha concert sounding flipping amazing. My prejudices are that the mixer they tour with is a theater sound mixer. Because the highest-end and most precise mixers are in theater. But that's just my obnoxious, yet correct, opinion about the superiority of theatrical sound mixers. They used an entirely pelican-case enclosed dual touchscreen monitor DLive system. Entirely glass cockpit. And the mix was very, very exact. Not too loud, everything exactly right, the room not overloaded or harsh. Which I found interesting because the hall was basically a box with a pair of speakers on either side of the proscenium. I don't even know what those are at the Lark. Wait, no, I do. Apparently they're Danley SM80's. 

Wow. A single 12" coaxial driver? The hall was filled with even and clear sound throughout. The back wall had a curtain over it but that was the only deliberate sound treatment I saw. I mean, go ahead and look at the picture of the Lark Hall. I would not have expected the quality to be as good as it was. Of course, the band is good. Real good. They had tremendous control over their dynamics. So between that, how good the dude was who was mixing, and modern sound reinforcement, it sounded excellent. Of course I wore hearing protection, but even without it just sounded even, natural, and clear throughout the venue. 

One thing that was odd for such a groovy concert was the projections. Not shown here, they were primarily psychedelic or eerie sorts of Ukrainian imagery. 

But. But there was also a lot of war footage. Soldiers putting up Ukrainian flags heroically. Very what we would think of in the post-WWII era in the West as "jingoistic." This sort of pro-military nationalism is not what one would normally see. It was somewhat disturbing at first. The Ukrainians are not "pro war" of course. They're "anti-being invaded." 

It made me think about all the Russian ex-pats who were so fearful of Bernie Sanders because he is a "socialist" even if they substantively believed in Sanders' politics. You'd try to explain that socialism in America wasn't the same thing but even pretty smart and sophisticated Russians would be awfully shy of it.

In America we just aren't used to being on the unambiguously "good" side of a war. 

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