Music as an act of triumph, an act of resistance, an act of love. These qualities may seem to pull in different directions, but so do the songs of Balaklava Blues. One direction is towards Ukraine, former home of Marichka Marczyk. Another direction is to Canada, the duo’s present home. Other directions are, well, anywhere in the four corners people crave captivating music where history, tenderness, deceit, loss and miracles cling to every note. The pair also anchor the spirited, unpredictable Lemon Bucket Orkestra.
Their music can be as gentle as a few piano notes carrying voices so mellow you must lean in to understand, or as intriguing as wandering through beats, loops, and sounds like meaning lost then found in coils of strife, hunger, war. Their immersive play Counting Sheep about the Kiev uprising of 2014 won the Amnesty International Award at 2016’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The story of the pair’s first meeting hints at the depth of Balaklava Blues’s music. It was -25°C and Marichka was 2014 on a stage in Kyiv, singing a traditional Ukrainian song for three youth who had been killed a few days before. Canadian-born Mark was under the stage in tears. With a beginning like that, no wonder the pair lace magic through their simple, beautiful, ancient, present and unnerving songs.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle