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Review: DakhaBrakha at Hamer Hall 

Review by Mish Graham

Attending DakhaBrakha's performance at the Arts Centre Melbourne was not just a concert; it was a journey through culture, art, and profound expression. It was the most peaceful protest imaginable. From the moment I stepped into the venue, I sensed the air vibrating with anticipation and curiosity, a testament to the band's ability to draw in a diverse audience eager to experience something extraordinary.

As I settled into my seat, surrounded by a melting pot of accents and backgrounds, I felt a sense of unity in diversity, a beautiful reflection of the power of music to transcend boundaries. Little did I know that this night would be filled with moments that would leave an indelible mark on my soul.

The performance was not just about music; it was a celebration of Ukrainian culture, a poignant reminder of the resilience and spirit of a nation facing adversity. Amidst the mesmerizing melodies and haunting harmonies, there was an undercurrent of quiet protest, a subtle yet powerful message of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

One of the most striking aspects of the evening was the auction of a piece of artwork by a band member, a gesture that underscored the band's commitment to their cause and the support of their fans. Witnessing the bidding soar to $4200 was a testament to the deep connection between DakhaBrakha and their audience, transcending mere entertainment to become a meaningful cultural event.

Throughout the performance, I found myself captivated by the sheer talent of the four band members, each a master of multiple instruments. From the mesmerizing sounds of traditional Ukrainian folk instruments to the electrifying beats of modern percussion, their versatility knew no bounds, leaving me in awe of their musical prowess.

And then there were the iconic tall hats adorned by the women of DakhaBrakha, a visual spectacle that added to the mystique of the performance. From my vantage point in the circle seating, I couldn't help but wonder if the hats were of different heights or if it was just a trick of perspective. 

But beyond the music and the spectacle, what truly resonated with me was the sense of unity and purpose that pervaded the performance. Despite the sombre backdrop of the ongoing events in Ukraine, there was an overwhelming feeling of hope and resilience, embodied in the band's motto, "Ukraine will win."

As the night drew to a close, I found myself reflecting on the profound impact of DakhaBrakha's performance. It was more than just a concert; it was a transformative experience that left me with a renewed sense of appreciation for the power of music to inspire, unite, and uplift.

To anyone living in Melbourne, I wholeheartedly encourage you to seize the opportunity to attend shows that not only entertain but also enrich your awareness of different cultures and perspectives. While DakhaBrakha's performance may have been a one-night-only event, the memories and emotions it evoked will stay with me for a lifetime.

Image Credit: Jason Lau


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