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Press review
The way the audience behaved and responded to the performance clearly demonstrated that that their expectations were exceeded by far. There was dancing, singing, laughing, cheering, and celebrating – all resulting in euphoric applause and calls for encores long after an almost three-hour concert. This music becomes addictive– probably because it’s so vibrant, authentic and moving. There are touching ballads which take you into mystical dream worlds. There are ecstatic rhythms inviting a frenzy of dancing. There are solemn hymns which create a mood of sacredness. The musicians do not only perform a concert, they also show what being a human is all about: above all, that we all have a boundless zest for life, which is always a part of us and which comes out through music, dance and singing. The musicians themselves radiate this joie de vivre. They play, sing and dance as if driven by supernatural forces…

Masterful playing and singing is another specificity of those Hudaki who trust the force of traditional music interpreted with soulful deepness, unlike other bands who satisfy the need of temperament with trash, kitsch and elements of show-business.
(Thüringer Landeszeitung, August 21, 2017)

From the heart and to the heart
With fiery rhythms and melodies, the Hudaki Village Band quickly swept away the daily routine of the audience and spread the pure joy of life.
(Seetaler Bote, February 6, 2017)

As these ballads and archaic sounds fly around the room, you have a feeling of elusive dimensions. Then what you have to do is just open the door to your heart and let this swirling musical tornado in. And it makes you feel so good!
(Nürtinger Zeitung, November 24, 2014)

Nine musicians from the Ukrainian Carpathians, this is the HUDAKI Village Band. Their voices resound with heart and soul during day and night-long wedding parties. Like their forefathers – Jewish, Ruthenian and Romany bands from the Maramures region – they know how do one task perfectly: make people happy! Their wild rhythms lend fleetness of foot to dancers both young and old. They seem to lift above the dance floor, in pairs or bigger circles, and soon they look as if they are flying over the ground in a circling levitation.
Once the village people have exhausted themselves on the dance floor, they sit together singing old ballads telling horrible and marvellous stories, which only real life can offer.

Hudaki are masters of the alchemy of musical-vibrating happiness. In 16 years of performing in hundreds of festivals and concert halls across Europe, the band has learned to make their archaic, night-time moments of happiness accessible to the uninitiated. In the Maramures region, a mountainous area of South-west Ukraine on the border with Romania and Hungary, village musicians are called hudaki. Various ethnic musical influences make the traditional music multifaceted and unique. Archaic Slavic vocal tradition, Romanian melodies, Jewish rhythms and Romany temperament blend together in a local cross culture that has evolved over centuries of living side by side.

In their new album Yo! released in December 2017, Hudaki present a wide spectrum of local music, played and sung in their own very characteristic style.

Jürgen Kräftner, an Austrian emigrant and musician, founded the band in 2001 together with two wedding musicians, Vasyl Rushchak and Mikhailo Shutko, from Nyzhne Selyshche*. From the beginning, bar singer Katya Yarynych, then 11-year-old Olga Senynets, and former rock-bassist Volodia Tishler joined the group. Later they met virtuoso cymbalist Volodia Korolenko and two outstanding musicians from the village, Serhiy Kovach and his son Vitaliy. Since 2008 the band composition has not changed.

Hudaki initially presented themselves as a Maramures Band, not really linked to Ukraine. It was after the Maidan Revolution in 2014, where the musicians played in front of protesters and police, that Hudaki began to demonstrate their affiliation to a free Ukraine that is open to the world. But this does not change their strong local identity. One of the main traits of the culture of these mountain villages is a mixture of humour and obstinacy which one can feel, hear and see in the band’s performances and unusual attire.

The group has performed in dozens of festivals in Europe, including the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Fusion and Bardentreffen in Germany, KlezMore in Vienna, Notes d’Equinoxes Delemont and Festival des 5 Continents in Switzerland, Respect-Prague, Balkan Trafik Brussels, Les Suds Arles in France and many more.

Kateryna Yarynych, vocal
Olga Senynets, vocal, gardon
Vasyl Rushchak, drum (percussion)
Mykhailo Shutko, vocal, violin
Yuri Bukovynets, clarinet, taragot, flutes
Volodymyr Korolenko, cymbalom
Vitaliy Kovach, vocal, guitar
Serhiy Kovach, accordion, plonka
Volodymyr Tishler, double bass

* Nyzhne Selyshche, a village of 3,000, is well-known throughout Ukraine for its many social and cultural initiatives. Some are the result of the work of the Longo maï movement, a European network of rural communities which settled here in the early 1990s. Longo maï is also active in defending the rights of social minorities, for example, migrants and day workers.

Hudaki Village Band
vul. Borkanyuka 95
90440 Nyzhnye Selyshche
e-mail: info[at]hudaki.org
tel: (+380)67 312 79 70




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