The Green Note is a very intimate venue and with around 70 people inside, the atmosphere was buzzing even before Dagadana entered – so when they did appear with the two female band-members adorned in traditional floral headdresses, they received a very warm welcome.
This four-piece (three from Poland and one from Ukraine) is composed of Dana Vynnytska on lead vocals and keyboards, Daga Gregorowicz on lead vocals and electronic witchery, Mikołaj Pospieszalski on acoustic and electric bass plus violin and vocals, and Bartosz Mikołaj on drums and vocals. They’ve been together for eleven years and have played in twenty-four countries around the world. They spoke of a meeting in China with Chinese and Mongolian musicians where they had no language in common except the language of music and so they jammed together for five hours. This was their first ever gig in London and they’d performed at Glastonbury Festival a few days beforehand.
Their first number gave a good taste of what was to come with the intro consisting of Dana playing a haunting tune on some kind of recorder accompanied by quiet drums and the double bass played with a bow followed by electro beats from Daga. Dana soon switched to keyboards and vocals while Daga joined in the vocals and sampled her own voice. These emotive and sometimes very high-pitched harmonies were a key feature of their sound. The interesting mix of traditional and electronic music was very effective. When Mikolaj switched to violin and then electric bass for the fourth song they got decidedly funky and while there was little room to dance anywhere, at least one audience member was twisting in her seat. Bartosz on drums laid down a solid though non-intrusive backbeat throughout their show but on one song his complex rhythms sounded reminiscent of Drumbo (John French) from Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band. Mikołaj played short double bass and electric bass solos in the second set that were well received.
Topics covered in the songs included a bride crying on the way to her wedding and saying, ‘No, I want to stay with my mum!’; an old man dreaming of an expensive car that he can’t afford while knowing that a loving family is more important; a young girl meeting a young man in a forest. Their sixth song was introduced as a prayer for peace and was about the demonstrators who were shot down in Kiev. After a maniacal keyboard introduction Dana sang in a very emotional way to a minimalist musical accompaniment. This song in particular received great applause. Most of the chat between songs was in English though none of the songs were; the majority being sung in Polish and some in Ukrainian. There were many Poles and some Ukrainians in the audience and there was a good deal of audience participation with clap-alongs and call-and-response communal singing. They performed sixteen songs over two sets playing for around an hour and three quarters. At the end of the final song, they stretched the Polish and Ukrainian flags across the stage to much applause and for the first of two encores everyone in the audience stood and held hands while swaying from side to side. Their second encore was a four-piece acapella number.
Their fourth and most recent album is called ‘Meridian 68’. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page and on www.dagadana.pl
As I mentioned, this was their first London show but on the basis of this performance it surely won’t be their last. Very heartily recommended.