When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Ukraine started to breathe the fresh air of independence again. At that time, during the early 90’s, a group of students set up the band Aktus, which quickly made itself a name in the underground Kyiv music scene. Aktus turned to the sounds of reggae, ska, and punk. With the addition of vocalist Olexandr Yarmola and accordionist Ivan Lenyo, both well-known and respected in folk circles, the band increasingly incorporated elements of Ukrainian folk music into their compositions.
At the start of the new millennium the band realized it was time to establish an even firmer tie to their own culture, and changed their name to Haydamaky, in honor of the historical Haydamaky’s rebellion, which took place in Ukraine in the 18th century. The music of Haydamaky is inspired by various ethnic sounds from around the world, especially from various regions of Ukraine. The band calls their music Carpathian Ska. Haydamaky’s hope is to forge an inherently Ukrainian popular music style, which looks back on its own heritage and traditions as a source for inspiration. Their self-titled debut album was released in January 2002. Since the time of the album’s release the band has participated in various festivals and also played a club tour in Western Europe. Their colourful live shows are unique, displaying bright costumes, special light settings and, of course, the pure mountain energy and musical mastership of the band.