One man and three women in traditional Ukrainian clothes stand under a stone archway with cloudy skies

Solidarity and Celebration

Arts & Lectures presents Ukraine Fest before welcoming musical group DakhaBrakha

There’s fixing to be a party in the street before the soirée moves on stage — and both will fete the people and culture of Ukraine.

Aiming to raise awareness of Ukraine’s unique cultural identity, UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures (A&L) will host a free “Ukraine Fest” before its second show of the new performance season, featuring Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha.

It will all take place Thursday, Oct. 6, in downtown Santa Barbara, with the street fair happening from 5–8 p.m. outside the Granada Theatre as part of the city’s Thursday Art Walk on State Street. The DakhaBrakha show begins at 8 p.m., at the Granada.

“The mission of Arts & Lectures is to educate, entertain and inspire, and Ukraine Fest, along with the concert by DakhaBrakha, does all three,” said Celesta M. Billeci, Miller McCune Executive Director of A&L. “It educates us about a place that’s under extreme pressure, it entertains us by bringing the best, most talented artists from that region here to Santa Barbara, and it inspires us by showing what these artists are doing during this crisis in their community. We have all looked to art for hope over the last few difficult years, and nowhere has that impulse been more inspirational than among the people of Ukraine.”

Fostering solidarity with Ukrainians in Santa Barbara and around the world, Ukraine Fest will feature bandura musician Siuzanna Iglidan, dancers from the Ukrainian Art Center of Southern California and an array of Ukrainian craft displays. Information about Ukraine, its history and current relief efforts will also be available.

The unique, first-time offering from Arts & Lectures will be emceed by Roman Baratiak, former A&L associate director and proud Ukrainian-American, who grew up in a Ukrainian-speaking household.

As for DakhaBrakha, the third time was the charm for A&L in booking the band. Two prior attempts were foiled by the pandemic. But now, the party is on.

Hailing from Kyiv, the world music quartet blends traditional Ukrainian songs with intense theatricality and driving percussion to create the unexpected. At the crossroads of folklore and theater, DakhaBrakha’s evocative musical approach weaves ancient folk melodies into a tapestry that embraces indie rock, pop, hip hop, the avant garde and traditional instrumentation.

“By bringing together crafts, performing arts, and information about the Ukrainian community, A&L aims to make space for the people of Santa Barbara to see the Ukrainians among us and to experience solidarity with Ukrainians around the world,” Billeci said. “And to have fun and celebrate the beginning of the 2022-2023 season, of course! DakhaBrakha shows are a party!”

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