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Glastonbury Sunday reviews: Herbie Hancock and DakhaBrakha

Jazz-fusion virtuoso Herbie Hancock delights the Pyramid Stage audience with a sunny afternoon set, while Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha come armed with a message against Putin

Ben Bryant,Serena Kutchinsky
Sunday 26 June 2022 15:53 BST
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(REUTERS)

Herbie HancockPyramid Stage

★★★★☆

Proving that not every 80-something at Glastonbury needs to look like they might dissolve in the rain, jazz-fusion legend Herbie Hancock takes the stage on Sunday afternoon, with a performance so joyful and effortless it's as welcome as a burst of sunshine.

The largely reclining Pyramid stage crowd, fanned by a cool breeze, stretches up to the tent line for the veteran virtuoso. Today, Hancock and his band stay away from his electronic-leaning Eighties material, choosing instead to lean into jazz-funk numbers such as “Actual Proof”, from 1974 album Thrust.

A glimpse of “Chameleon”, from classic album Headhunters is folded in early on, the distinctive popping bass collapsing into a series of extended solos. “Footprints” is dedicated to Hancock’s friend, 88-year-old saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who also co-founded the Seventies jazz-fusion band Weather Report.

“Cantaloupe Island”, with its rolling piano chords and sparky trumpet line, comes next, ahead of set closer “Chameleon” – the whole track this time – for which Hancock takes on a dazzling keytar solo that ripples right across the field. It’s going to be a great Sunday. BB

DakhaBraka – Pyramid Stage

(AFP via Getty Images)

★★★☆☆

Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha started life as a theatre project, rooted in an avant-garde scene that was burgeoning in Kyiv until Putin’s war put it on indefinite pause. For years, the band have served as representatives of their nation’s music and culture, typically ending shows chanting: “Stop Putin! No war!” Today, they’ve brought their anti-war message to the world’s biggest festival, in triumphant and defiant form.

Visually striking, they step out on to the Pyramid Stage, resplendent in towering black lamb’s wool hats, crimson beads and other finery. The crowd – themselves festooned in yellow and blue facepaint, floral headdresses and Ukrainian flags – cheer back at them.

Despite their traditional folk heritage, DhakaBrakha are as contemporary as they come. The whole experience is a riotous explosion of colour; hypnotic harmonies blend seamlessly with African rhythms and heavy percussive bass lines. Never losing sight of their political message, the band show footage of the destruction Russia’s war has wreaked on their homeland during the performance. As they reach their exhilarating climax, the words “Arm Ukraine now” shine out behind them. A reminder for us all of the unifying power of this festival.

As Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in his pre-recorded message broadcast on the Other Stage on Friday morning: “Glastonbury is the greatest concentration of freedom these days and I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack.”

Today, on the Pyramid stage DhakaBrakha did exactly that. SK

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