Reinventing Ukrainian Folk Music

By Christine Séguin — Fri, 22/08/2014 - 11:59

We all know that it's good to get our of our comfort zones. To get out into the world and experience different cultures through food, art and music is something all of us should prioritize. But oftentimes there are things holding us back: our jobs, lack of funds or other of life's many obligations can often get in the way. But it's good to know we live in a city where these obstacles aren't as great, and we can experience a different culture in our own backyard.

Local group Ukrainia will be rocking the House of Targ this Saturday, August 23 with their surreal take on Ukrainian folk music. Guests can munch on perogies and play some pinball while the jangly sounds of this unique band take the stage and transport the audience to a different time and place. The band mixes the traditional sounds of their homeland with metal-pop application. They take you to “bygone embassy halls where stilettos clicked and dresses swirled, and men held their hands over hearts brimming with nationalistic fervor”, or to make you feel like you're in a really badass foreign movie. "We all really enjoy writing original music, and using Ukrainian folk songs as a base gives us a really cool palette to work with," explains band member Damian Sawka.

The set will begin at 10pm, but Damian suggests getting to the venue early to enjoy Targ's famous perogies and play some games before the music starts. As an added bonus, a television crew from Omni TV in Toronto will be in attendance to film the band for a documentary on the reinvention of folk music. So head down and you might catch your mug on TV for this very cool film.

I asked Damian about the history and inspiration behind the band. "It all happened pretty naturally. Having been raised in Ukrainian households, Yogi and I always messed around with the Ukrainian folk tunes we knew from childhood. Once Tom Werbo (drums) and Dave Martindale (bass, vocals) got involved, we started really having fun with the tunes and taking them in a new direction with more of a full-band sound. Since Paul Hogan (guitar) joined the group, the music has moved into a new and interesting realm."  

I asked Damian what he thought of Ottawa's hot new arcade/watering hole. "It’s definitely the most exciting venue in Ottawa right now. They are all about community, have an amazing staff, delicious food, a cool stage, and tons of awesome games to keep you occupied between sets." They may be a tad biased since the founding member of the band Yogi, is one of the owners of House of Targ.

Right now the band is focused on the future. They are in the midst of recording new songs and are looking forward to finishing a new album. They are hoping to play some festivals next year and tour Canada and Europe. "We all really enjoy writing original music, and using Ukrainian folk songs as a base gives us a really cool palette to work with."

Today, Targ; tomorrow, the world!

Saturday, August 23, 2014 @9pm
House of Targ

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