Can you identify the group playing this ancient pagan Slavic music?
November 14, 2013 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Music buffs of the Eastern European, pre-Christian/pagan and generally history-oriented sort: I stumbled upon a youtube video of what, as far as I can make out, is a group performing ancient pagan Slavic music. Fascinating stuff and I want more of it. Can anyone help me identify the group? Are there other groups like this? Thanks!
posted by tidecat to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Not the band in the video (as far as I can tell) but Kitka Women's Ensemble sings ancient Slavic music. I think you would like them - their voices are gorgeous.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:46 AM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The band is Dakha Brakha is a ukrainian instrumental group. They are singing their own original music.

They sing primarily in an old techique called "white voice" or "biliy holos" (ie no vibato, very earthy, very old school) and mix it with jazz, modern music, folk.

They're kind of awesome and there are some other bands like them out there, but they definitely have some of the best music/best ear towards a more modern take on old school sound.

I'll see if I can dig up more stuff later.
posted by larthegreat at 7:47 AM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Dakha Brakha - that's it! Excellent, thank you! And thanks, too, for the Kitka Ensemble suggestion. Love this stuff!
posted by tidecat at 7:54 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

You were asking for more stuff like this; I'm not sure what you are after, but, on the off-chance that this hits the mark, here goes: you are probably aware of Bulgarian (link with bonus "Oh Suzanna" track) female choirs, but larthegreat's description reminded me of them. In terms of voices, quite close to your link, though overall a different approach, much less jazzy/ modern.

Here some more (random) recordings. They're kind of all over the place, but all have female voices/ singing styles which are somewhat unusual for the ears of someone more used to a western tradition.
posted by miorita at 8:39 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Zespol Polski performs Polish folk music and Chopin pieces rendered as folk music. They have a pretty similar sound. I have their album Chopin:Spirit of the Lowlands and it's awesome. That album is not very vocal-focused, but there are several tunes with vocals. The linked page has samples of the tracks. Track 13 is one of my favorites, it's haunting.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:39 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

At the risk of not being relevant, there is no such thing as "ancient pagan Slavic music" performed anywhere, by anyone. There is music characterizable as "neo-pagan" "new folk" that aims for a kind of pseudo-historical pagan burlesque. This is often wonderful and very affecting music, but it's a mistake to think that it has anything resembling a direct lineage to the music of the pagan Slavs.

FWIW, Mystere des Voix Bulgares actually has a much more direct connection to folk music, but it has no pretensions to being ancient.

For more pagan-inflected neo-folk, consider Finland's Värttinä (sample). They started as a folk art ensemble and gradually drifted to neo-folk.
posted by Nomyte at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Not Eastern European, but Medieval Troubador Music from southern France and northern Spain (often performed in Catalan or Occitan) can be quite lively.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:59 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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