A few years back when I was a middle school literacy coach, I was recruited at the last minute to be a chaperone for the band. They were going on a field trip to see a concert at UCLA. Was I happy about having to cancel my plans for the day? No. But was I happy to visit my alma mater for an impromptu musical experience? Sure.
When I asked the music teacher what type of concert we were attending, he said it was Ukrainian folk music, a group named DakhaBrakha. Hmmm…was there a way some else could take my place, I wondered. Too late, I was already on the bus. Also, would our middle schoolers be interested in this or was I going to listen to a bunch of complaints on the ride back to school.
When the musicians entered the stage, I was still dubious. Then the music started. I was mesmerized and so were the kids. We couldn’t stop moving along to the rhythms that were so different than any of the music we were used to listening to. It was one of the best concerts I’d ever attended and I’ve seen Metallica and Rush.
Fast forward to earlier this February. In my inbox was yet another reminder of the performance offerings being hosted by UCLA. Most of the time I barely give those notices a glance before deleting. This one caught my eye–DakhaBrakha! When I told my husband that I wanted to get tickets to see a Ukrainian folk music concert, he looked at me incredulously. A moment later, he said, “They’re Ukrainian? Let’s go and support them.” Russia had been making threats at the time.
With all that has happened in just a few weeks, we are even happier to be supporting this Ukrainian group.