New music group for kids “Dakha-Bird” was launched in “Master Class.” The leader of the group is Iryna Kovalenko, vocalist of the DakhaBrakha band. She told The Day about the peculiarities of the work with children, their perception of the new folk instruments, self-realization through singing, and about the future band Dakha-Bird.
What came first in your life, music or theater?
“I started with music. I have a singing family. My dad played guitar and we were singing at all family gatherings. I know the girls from DakhaBrakha since we all were third graders. Until finishing school we all sang in a music group Yavoryna, where we also played rhythmic Ukrainian instruments. During the time of our studies at university we sang together in a band Kralytsia. Eight years ago we came to Dakh Theater to see the musical play In Search of Lost Time, which we liked a lot. My groupmate was involved in production of this play. He introduced us to Vladyslav Troitsky and told him that we sang beautifully.
“After we got to know each other, at first we sang during salon nights, but once Troitsky suggested: ‘Let’s experiment with your singing accompanied by drums.’ He then got Indian tablas from somewhere and we started to play them while singing (later our band joined the creative project ‘Mystic Ukraine’). We had a sense of rhythm, but we did not know how to play them. Then we got a cello and decided to use it for background sound. We experimented with every song that we knew. First music compositions of our band were written for a play and now DakhaBrakha is a separate unit.”
What ideas from DakhaBrakha do you use in “Dakha-Bird”?
“Sing more from the heart then from your head. One can think a lot about how to take the right note. In the band DakhaBrakha I sing the way I can. I received good musical training. These two factors combined became a push for me to open my strong voice. We must learn to accept ourselves when we scream or whisper. With kids in the group ‘Dakha-Bird’ we will also scream, make a piano, and listen to silence. The latter is extremely important because any music begins with silence.
“At the first open class we welcomed spring. We listened to how water was running using an instrument called African rain, how frogs were croaking – we have an instrument that imitates that sound, and birds sang with the help of our clay cuckoos. Some kids took many instruments because they wanted to play all of them. With the older kids we started to play drums right away. I showed them not the simplest rhythm and was impressed at how fast kids picked it up.
“In general, you can get kids interested in something only through a game. There should always be a change of action. That’s why I decided to start every class with a game and in the beginning to give everyone a role. By the way, in Ukrainian folklore there are games with music and singing. I plan to use them too.”
How did you come up with the idea for this group?
“I have been thinking about it for almost a year. I read many books on psychology. I felt that it was the time for me to give to others. By the way, ‘daha’ means to give in Old Slavic. I went to Iryna Budanska, who founded the ‘Master Class.’ At the Open Doors Day I spoke about my desire to work with children. Iryna supported my idea, promised to assist, and provide premises. Children will work in a big hall and will get used for a big stage. There is good acoustics in this hall. Until January I shaped the idea of how I saw the group. I made an approximate plan for every class, selected songs and instruments, chose topics. I want to start a band – a little ‘Dakha-Bird.’ At this point it is the process of getting to know each other and developing. The end result will be a big performance. I want to give children a chance to share their talent with other people, to let them sense how exciting and fun it can be.”