Haydamaky are a Ukrainian band who fuse Ukrainian folk music, namely that of the Bukovina, Transcarpathia and Polesia regions with reggae, punk, ska and even a touch of metal or hard rock. This is their latest album and one of their more folky ones. Haydamaky have been playing for the best part of the last 20 years and tour a hell of a lot throughout much of Europe.
The band originally known as Aktus changed their name to Haydamaky in honour of the Haidamaks (peasant and cossacks) who fought in battles against the Polish nobility throughout the 18th century.
Kobzar is brought out by the German record label Eastblok Music and was released in March 2008.
1 - Vstup
Is a 19 second song which I'm unaware of the point of, perhaps it has significance. 10/10 or 0/10 depending on how you look at it.
2 - Efir - 4:34
A jolly song where accordian, drumming and later trumpet features highly with a catchy chorus and impressive near orient or latino "aaah's" (if you know what I mean!) and gypsy "rrrrs" and "hups" 8/10
3 - Yidu Tramvayem
Violin, trumpet and accoustic guitar heavy track to start off with yet another upbeat feeling accompanied with a bit of crooning and later gets a more funky, jazzy feel to it. Insane song to dance to. 8/10
4 - Message
Starts off with a heavy metal/hard rock style and moves into reggae with space noises plus the occasional folks instrument (possibly bagpipes) and later jazz trumpets, sang in Polish mostly due to the song being written and sung by Krzysztof Grabowski (from legendary ska/punk band Pidzama Porno and reggae band Vavamuffin) but with Russian verses incorporated into it. A great track and somehow manages to combine everything well with the "Message to people" chorus also very powerful. 10/10
5 - Meni Zdayetsa - Very jazzy track with dramatic and thoughtful singing (it's a love song) which turns into a bit of a dramatical rock ballad around 2 minutes, I like the way the song goes in and out of jazz and rock seemlessly with other more psychedelic and folk sounds going on as well, you notice more happening each time you listen. 8/10
6 - Malanka - Awesome track that starts off with psychedelic/ natural sounds before going into jolly Ukrainian folk music and the voice of a young girl/child singing in a spookily way (apologies to the girl in question if it was supposed to be sweet!), pretty spacey stuff from the cornfields of Ukraine. Packaged correctly, it could be an anthem for stoners for centuries to come! 8/10
7 - Spokusa - unfortunately my CD is scratched and it doesn't play properly on this track, so I don't really feel I can comment.
8 - Rosa - Back to the dark and romantic stuff, I find the flute on this song a little jarring (it is one of my least favourite instruments unless played by Ferus Mustafov). Some may appreciate this as it's not terrible, it's just not upbeat enough for me. 5/10
9 - Leleki - Woohoo we're back to jolly stuff, it takes a while to get going but then you also get some beautifully played electric guitar and singing in a typically ex-soviet manner where they somehow make the song sound like an important speech. (most notably Ukraine, Moldova and Russia) 7/10
10 - Marusya - A manic change, all of a sudden you find yourself in a mixture of metal/hard rock and upbeat folk which sounds Like Iron Maiden jamming at a village festival complete with girls dressed in traditional costumes. Pretty catchy and followed through with a short spacey section. Awesome song 10/10
11 - Yikhav Kozak - A sort of chilled out, flute led song that is dedicated to Kossacks and past battles, it somehow works and makes your hairs stand up in the process, this is topped off with a folk rock finish and jolly singing that progressively speeds up to a crazy pace that lightens up the day. 10/10
12 - Viter Viye - A sort of psychedelic track with chilling, loud, deep almost spoken vocals. It probably should do something for me but it doesn't really. I'm not sure why, it's beautiful music with meaning lyrics (albeit not in English) but doesn't excite me. Stalin meets Enya. 4/10
13 - Viter Viye (Hard work as studio remix) - A reggae version of the previous song, although it still keeps some of it's orginal form, it is spruced up into a top reggae track. The reggae take on it, sung in English will clear up any confusion in what the song was about! 9/10
All in all it's got some pretty good songs on but I prefer some of the earlier Haydamaky albums, however amazing tracks like Message, Malanka, Marusya and Yikhav Kozak are not to be sniffled at!
For more info on the band: www.myspace.com/haydamaky
For more top bands (mostly from UK, Eastern Europe or US) - check out my blog at www.jungleofjohns.blogspot.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Yidu Tramvayem
5 Meni Zdayetsa
11 Yikhav Kozak
12 Viter Viye
13 Viter Viye