DakhaBrakha, a Band From Kyiv, Saw a War Coming

Then There’s Nina,

GARENETSKA My family and I are in Kyiv, Ukraine, in our one-year-old son’s room, along with my husband and my mother.

How Long Have You Been in Kyiv?

GARENETSKA No music can be made here. To put it another way: You go downstairs, wait, and then return to the upper floors when an air raid siren sounds. And there’s no end in sight. We’ll retreat to the bomb shelter if the situation warrants it.

Please tell me about your most recent show.

GARENETSKA With all of the emotions coursing through my body, I couldn’t help but cry during our last show. We only played five or six shows in Europe, in places like Ukraine, Slovenia, Prague, and Oslo. Zaporizhzhya [in southeastern Ukraine] and Kyiv [in the Ukrainian capital] were our final destinations. We were supposed to continue our tour the next day, but we decided not to because the war began at 5 a.m. on Thursday.

What has your Ukrainian fan base told DakhaBrakha since then?

GORBAN Many people in this area are posting the last photo or video they took just before the war began on social media to express their feelings. DakhaBrakha’s most recent concerts, in which he says “Stop Putin!” and “No War!” and “Free Ukraine!”—and of course people are truly in solidarity with this—were featured in many of these photos.

Since when did DakhaBrakha begin making more explicit statements about the conflict with Russia at your concerts?

HALANEVYCH We came to the realisation that in order to send a more powerful message to the rest of the world, we needed to talk more about this threat. And we began to speak out about how Ukraine had decided to completely separate from Russia. We started yelling, “Stop Putin!” to each other. We played videos of the events at Maidan, printed posters, and we’ve been repeating those slogans at every show since. In the end, we were ignored.