Yellow Blue Bus at WOMAD
Have you ever seen a live music act by chance somewhere that really captured your attention due to its sheer uniqueness or a quirky twist to the norm?
Stumbling upon "Yellow Blue Bus" was a bit like that, and then some. Each and every member totally captured the full attention of our ears and eyes as well as everyone surrounding them gazing attentively.
All Over Adelaide, March 31, 2018 (see full review)
"Yellow Blue Bus: This band from Australia raises the bandura to new musical peaks in the modern world
The result is emotive musical tales of heart and soul: sometimes majestic and courtly, sometimes wild and thunderous, sometimes reflective and inward, but always passionate and uplifting. Audiences are invited to dance, to be mesmerised and to be moved by Kozak energy.
The project of Yellow Blue Bus is both to celebrate Ukrainian music and cultural tradition as it migrated and took root in Australia, as well as to recontextualise and redefine the bandura in contemporary Australia and in the world. Given that half of the members are second generation migrants from post-WW 2 Ukraine, the blended mix of YBB's music reflects members' lives of cultural fusion."
- Kozakorium Media Company, Ukraine, June 2017
(see review in Ukrainian)
"Yellow Blue Bus at the Wheatsheaf Hotel
The quality of the music is like listening to a landscape. It’s very evocative and atmospheric music...
The banduras (yep that’s right folks not one but two of the 65 stringed instruments) are the obvious touchstones of the “folk” feel but they are very much ably aided, supported, and sometimes led, by extremely effective keyboards and a variety of hand percussion. Behind the sound is some very sinuous bass playing, acoustic and electric, and a drummer with a very good feel for cymbal work. I listened a lot to the violin, it was very good: at times achingly mournful. The violinist plays a variety of stringed things, (including a travel sized Gibson “Thunderbird”shaped guitar with eight strings (I think) all through a a lot of effects which he puts to great use. There’s a bit of tongue in cheek about the “The Bus”, but it doesn’t detract from what is excellent musicianship."
- On Being There, Feb 2017 (see full review)
"A cultural road trip with Yellow Blue Bus
The sound of Yellow Blue Bus is built around two amazing-looking traditional Ukrainian stringed instruments called banduras, which date back as far as the 6th century. They certainly are stringed instruments – 67 strings, in fact, arranged more like a harp than a guitar, although with lute-like structure. The tone is beautiful, shimmering, resonant, from high to low notes, especially in the hands of these skilled musicians.
Drone strings are also utilised, in a somewhat similar manner to a sitar. Driving this along is a solid rhythm section of drums, bass and powerful percussion provided by the keyboard player. Extra melodic support comes from a fifth player on violin, guitar and a crazy-looking electric mandolin, all of which are often played with driving distortion and even a wah-wah pedal.
You have probably figured Yellow Blue Bus is not limited to the traditional music of Ukraine. Founder Ian Kushnir describes their style as “zletya”, pronounced “sletcha”. It is a Ukraine word meaning “things flying in from all directions into a single point” (a terrific effort for one small word). In other words, diverse modern and traditional influences from many sources have been incorporated into the music to give it a life of its own...
They all play together beautifully with passion, skill and obvious respect and enjoyment of their task. It’s a true world fusion music effort."
- Steve Horne, Adelaide Independent News, 15 Jan 2014 (see full review)
"Off to the Cygnet Folk Festival
Their starting point is Ukrainian folk, and they build it up into something very beguiling … they’re pretty exciting."
- Paul Gough, The Inside Sleeve, Radio National, 4 Jan 2017
"SESSIONS 2014: YELLOW BLUE BUS Brings in the Ukrainian New Year with Folk Fusion
This evening's offering was the Ukrainian folk-fusion group, Yellow Blue Bus. This group manages to combine almost every imaginable genre of music with some Ukrainian folk music. As they themselves say, "Yellow Blue Bus, where East meets everything else."
All of the members of the band are talented musicians, however the dexterity required to play the 60 stringed lute, with its unique sound, make the two lute players stand out from the rest. The group's fusions were intriguing... The songs were separated by amusing and informative stories of Ukrainian history, folklore, and what it was like being a Ukrainian boy growing up in Australia."
- Broadway World Adelaide, 15 Jan 2014 (see full review)