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A Dakha Brakha musician during a concert in Ukraine in 2018

Picture by: Sergey Sivyakov | dakhabrakha.com.ua

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Ukrainian music is much more than ‘sharovarshcyna’. Meet four ‘hidden gems’ bands and artists

Ukrainian music has been underestimated since the times of the Soviet Union. It is mostly associated with mainstream ‘folklore’, colourful traditional clothing and dance, not always accurate historical motives.

All of that is called ‘sharovarshcyna’, a term coined to describe the outdated ‘traditional’ Ukrainian music, a kind of music international audiences are completely uninterested in.

Ukrainian music, however, has its hidden gems.

Let’s start with a classic: Dakha Brakha, a Ukrainian quartet with a revolutionary approach to folk music. Using traditional Ukrainian instruments, they experiment with sound, rhythm, and instrumentation and have made a name for themselves across Europe, Canada, and the United States.

Songs to listen to: Especially for You, Baby and Vesna.

I Hate Myself Because is a new and interesting name in the Ukrainian music industry. Maksym Semeniuk is a Ukraine-based indie-rock artist whose popularity has grown ever since the release of his 2020 single I Feel Bad.

Maksym’s music speaks to youth all around the world, expressing frustration with the concept of being young and beautiful. It is bold, new and fresh – he experiments with techno motives, as well as pop, and it beautifully intervenes in his songs.

Songs to listen to: I Feel Bad, i don’t dance and Fck Me.

The next band — Odyn v Kanoe — is for the lovers of indie folk, it’s an example of folk music made with quality and thought. They offer their audience a beautiful female vocal harmony and the use of traditional instruments in a contemporary way.

Since the release of their first album, titled after themselves, Odyn v Kanoe – they have successfully reached new audiences with music that is melancholic, hopeful, and at the same time angry.

Songs to listen to: Demony, Choven, and Nebo.

For those who enjoy post-punk, Ukrainian music has something as well. Bogdan “SadSvit” Rozvadovskyy is a young Ukrainian artist – but not a newbie to the industry – who is especially popular with the Ukrainian music scene since he released his album Cassette.

He experiments with different musical arrangements and his songs give an understanding of youth from a perspective of careless teenage years, while describing the hardships these years bring.

Songs to listen to: Personazhi, Nebo, and Cassette.

The world is now starting to realise how unique and vast the Ukrainian culture is. With music being a major part of it, we, the Ukrainians hope that soon we will no longer be prisoners of the ‘traditional folk’ paradigm – that Ukrainian music ceases to be.

Written by:

author_bio

Sofiya Tkachenko

former Editor-in-chief

Kyiv, Ukraine | Vienna, Austria

Born in 2006, Sofiya is originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, but now, because of the war, she has relocated to Vienna, Austria. She is interested in writing about culture and politics, especially the current situation in Ukraine and the world as a whole, but is planning on studying Biology in Vienna next year. 

Sofiya joined Harbingers’ Magazine as a contributor in the spring of 2022. A few months later, she took on the role of the social media and the Harbingers’ Weekly Brief newsletter editor. After half a year, her devotion and hard work promoted her to the position of editor-in-chief of the magazine – in September 2023, she took the helm from Sofia Radysh, who stepped down having completed her one-year term.

In her spare time, Sofiya organises charity poetry events and is working on multiple projects regarding the promotion of Ukrainian culture in Europe.

She speaks Ukrainian, English, Russian, and a bit of German.

 

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