The Dakh is a theater in Kiev, out of which grew the Dakh Daughters band: an all-female group that takes existing songs and texts, mix them with each other and new things and give them their own twist. The result is a highly political, emotional cabaret concert that reminded me of The Tiger Lillies, but at the same time is very much its own thing. I was absolutley taken with it.
I was very impressed with the dexterity on display in Roses. Not only do the women frequently change places to play different instruments with different rhythms and musical style, but they also sing in different languages (though mostly in Ukranian) and call back to very different texts to make their songs – from Shakespeare to folk music. And yet, their show doesn’t feel cobbled together but like a coherent, well-rounded thing. So much so that it almost feels like the concert has a plot and tells a single story.
I can imagine that part of that cohesion comes with their make-up and the similar costumes and the very theatrical acting that often consists of synchronized and almost robotic movements. But also here, an opposite becomes visible: because despite that uniformity, the women are also very much visible as individual, strong characters.
The music they were playing was enchanting and the texts were great. I actually found myself jotting down a few quotes during the show because I liked them so much, like [I can’t tell you where they’re from originally]:
In my wardrobe hangs the costume of a responsible woman.
Deep shadows are sinking and drown in the darkness there.
Unfortunately, while I loved that we got subtitles for the show – sorely needed because the lyrics were essential – the lightning was such that the projection of the translation got swallowed quite a few times and was pretty much illegible.
But that is the only complaint about an evening that was made of musical magic. You can get an impression of their show on their youtube channel, but I do hope that they make their way back again to Vienna. I’d be there in a heartbeat.