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Folk mechanics by Dakh Daughters

30 May 2014

Under the ▲ CROSS ART festival Erarta Museum hosted the Ukrainian theater Dakh Daughters who continue the traditions of Ukrainian folk theater, skits and buffoonery and Kuryokhin's "Pop-Mechanics".

They had been highly discussed and expected in Russia. And the ▲ CROSS ART festival gave the St.-Petersburg audience a unique opportunity to see them alive. The freak-cabaret performed in Erarta four evenings in a row both solo and together with AKHE Theater.

Dakh Daughters is not just a music-drama project, consisting of seven bright girls able to sing in several languages and play about fifteen instruments. What they do on stage can be defined as an ethnomusical riot. They transfuse the primordial Slavic energy, while combining the folklore principles with modern irony, classic poetry and relevant stylistics.

They go on stage wearing black ballet-skirts and white robes. They put on miners' lanterns to sing their major hit "Donbass". They mix swashbuckling Ukrainian songs with the sonnets of Shakespeare, poems of Brodsky and French chanson. 

St.-Petersburg theatre "AKHE" is famous for their creative improvisations, unusual use of the most common items, experiments with water and fire, and appeal to the Eastern wisdom and Western philosophy. At the festival "AKHE" and Dakh Daughters gave three joint performances in a row: celebration of The International Turtle Day, "the ballet of the outskirts" and "the hedonic tragedy". During these performances the rational, engineering and masculine nature of "AKHE" coalesced with the sensual, musical and feminine anima of Dakh Daughters, creating a live and very spectacular action.

The solo concert by Dakh Daughters became one of the brightest events of ▲ CROSS ART. Which is not surprising: according to the mentor of Dakh Daughters Vladislav Troitsky, theater is primarily the intersection of arts, since it comprises music, drama, decorations and etc.

Especially for Erarta website Vladislav Troitsky, a famous Ukrainian film director, producer and the founder of "Dakh" theater and "Gogolfest", talked about contemporary art, the role of artist in our lives and the backstage life of Dakh Daughters:

“Sincere impulse, soul, intellect, opinion - this is all art, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s contemporary or not. Any speculation dies very fast, because the history is ruthless. When a person is free and creative, his divine nature starts to predominate and his negative features calm down.

It might seem that artists, musicians and actors do not influence the world. But the artists are born visionaries. They encode our future; even though the society thinks it is the politicians who do. 

The musical drama theatre is a quite traditional case for Ukraine, where the energy of folk melodies has been always magically transforming into a theater. Singing is very important for our lives and our souls. Even at our private celebrations we never listen to recordings, but sing ourselves. There are no backing vocals in Dakh Daughters, all lines are primary. The actresses choose the texts and create the images themselves. Each girl is a bright and gifted personality".

text by Olga Safroshina, photo by Vitaly Kolikov