DakhaBrakha, a group from Kiev, saw a war coming

And you Nina?

GARENETSKA I am in our apartment with my son, who is one year and 10 months old, my husband and my mother, in Kyiv.

How was it, staying in Kyiv?

GARENETSKA We can’t make music. Because it’s our life now: an air raid siren goes off – you go down, you wait, you go up. And it’s non-stop. When it’s too dangerous, we’ll run to the air-raid shelter.

Tell me about your last concert.

GARENETSKA At our last concert, I was crying all the time with a weird mix: fear, love, but also hope and faith that everything will be fine. We did a small tour of five or six concerts in Europe — Ukraine, Slovenia, Prague, Oslo. From Oslo we flew to Zaporizhzhya [in southeastern Ukraine], and we literally returned to Kiev for the day. The next day we were supposed to continue the tour, but we didn’t go because at 5am on Thursday the war started.

And since then, what has DakhaBrakha heard from your fanbase in Ukraine?

GORBAN To share their emotions, many people here post on social media the last photo or video they took just before the war started. And we saw that many come from the last concerts of DakhaBrakha, where, as usual, DakhaBrakha says “Stop Poutine! and “No war!” and “Free Ukraine!” – and of course people are really in solidarity with that.

How and when did Dakha Brakha decide to bring more open statements about the conflict with Russia to your concerts?

HALANEVYCH At some point, we realized that we needed to talk more about this threat to send a stronger message to the world. And we started talking about how Ukraine had decided once and for all to leave Russia’s orbit and absolutely separate. We started saying “Stop Putin!” We showed the videos of the events at the Maidan, we had posters, and since then we say these mottos at every concert. But we were not heard.

Elizabeth J. Harless