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The Dukhs

By Phil Freeman
Published March 13, 2007

First things first: it’s pronounced “ducks.” And it’s spelled that way in tribute to MacDuhk, a Scottish warrior chieftain who fought the English beside William Wallace. That’s about the only connection to things ancient, though; this Canadian group is nothing if not modern. Their acoustic, Celtic-rooted music incorporates rock, Latin and even classical influences, brought in via the extremely diverse backgrounds of its five members. Surprisingly, vocalist Jessee Havey says this makes songwriting easier, rather than more difficult. “Our collaborative process is both easy and challenging,” she asserts. “The dynamic of this group is such that when we all sit down together to work on new material, the music just sort of happens—it’s very organic. The level of musical respect is very high, and we are all very open to each other’s ideas. Ultimately, I think the diversity of our backgrounds just makes it that much more exciting and fun than it would, were we all coming from the same place, musically.”

The desire to succeed is one thing they all agree on. The Dukhs play a lot of shows, in any venue that’ll have ’em. This is a necessity for any group these days, neo-traditionalist or not, given that increasing numbers of people are electing to see small performers rather than be dazzled by arena shows for which ticket prices head toward car-payment range. “We feel it’s only a matter of time before the Duhks become one of those million-dollar-promo-budget pop acts, so hopefully people will keep paying hundreds of dollars for concert tickets,” says Havey. “Just kidding. We’re just going to keep playing music, and hope that people continue to listen.”