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Ukrainian musicians to perform tonight in Schenectady

Music Haven

Musicians from war-torn Ukraine are performing in Schenectady's Central Park tonight.

Ukrainian experimental folk band DakaBrakha has been touring the U.S. since just after Russia’s invasion, stopping tonight in Schenectady where they'll take to the Agnes Macdonald Music Haven Stage for the "Tribute to Ukraine at Music Haven."

Viktor Holovaschenko is president of the Ukrainian-American Cultural Center in Watervliet.

"DakaBrakha is a famous group in Ukraine, is traveling the world," said Holovaschenko. "And they are going to, they performing beautiful songs and music. And they also bringing the awareness, increasing the awareness of what's happening in Ukraine. So Ukrainian community is looking forward to seeing them here. But of course, really excited to have our American friends join and enjoy this beautiful art they are producing and making and also bringing this awareness."

Mona Golub is the Producing Artistic Director at Music Haven. She says DakaBrakha visited the venue in 2016 and this return appearance offers a way to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

"DakaBrakha is a fabulous group of performance artists," said Golub. "And they put on a fabulous show, which is to be expected in this moment in time at this juncture, recognizing that they have friends and family at home in Ukraine that are dealing with a war that was not expected or asked for or wanted.”

Holovaschenko is hoping for a big turnout from both the local Ukrainian community and all Capital Region residents.

“Please come for this beautiful art form," Holovaschenko said. "It's an old full kind of singing, it really touches my personal, sort of my soul. At the same time, we also wanted to say that by coming you, you will continue to support and show your kindness, support the people of Ukraine that are you know, fighting this unjust war and, and also at the same time, all the collections for the food that this event is selling, is providing, it's actually donation is going to go to Ukrainian American Cultural Center.”

Holovaschenko says the money will be used to assist refugees. Golub says the performance is free.

“We've got permanent seating, 500 permanent seats up front in the house and a hill behind them that seats another 1,500 or more," Golub said. "There are no tickets or reservations that need to be made. Those who wish to partake merely need to show up. The concert starts at 7.”

Golub says a candlelight vigil will immediately follow the DakhaBrakha performance. A ceremonial flame will be shared with those gathered, words of hope and prayer will be offered from the stage, followed by the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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