With a sound self-styled as “ethno-chaos”, Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha
forge a thrillingly dynamic synthesis of their venerable native folk music with contemporary and international elements. Originally formed in 2004, to accompany avant-garde performances at Kiev’s Centre for Contemporary Art, they have since established themselves among Ukraine’s foremost cultural ambassadors. Fronted by complex, commanding vocal harmonies from three lead vocalists, the band’s arrestingly theatrical performances feature a wide array of African, Arabic, Asian and Western as well as Ukrainian instruments, from taiko drums to trombone, with added touches of indie, electronica, hip-hop, rock and pop. “Reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances
Blasting onto the scene, Project Smok is Pablo Lafuente, Ewan Baird and BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2020 Ali Levack, whose forward thinking Scottish traditional music has set them apart since their formation in 2017. With tunes built around Levack’s distinctive whistle and piping, paired with Baird’s skilled bodhran playing and Lafuente’s nuanced guitar, electric guitar and production, the trio manage to naturally bring together an array of musical aspects. Throw in instrumental virtuosity, blistering drive, infectious rhythm and a delicate sensitivity and you have Project Smok’s thirst-quenching sound.