One defining trend of the current moment is that of musicians visiting the
past in order to invent the future, and there’s no better example than this
fantastic fusion of rural Moravian melody and urban improv. Working with material
collected by Julia Ulehla’s great-grandfather during the early 20th century, the singer
and her guitarist husband, Aram Bajakian, have arrived at music that’s deeply affecting
and powerfully new.
 
—Alex Varty, Georgia Straight, Top 10 Albums of 2014

 

Guitarist Aram Bajakian and vocalist Julia Ulehla’s Dálava project is an homage to traditional Moravian folk music, taking melodies transcribed over 100 years ago by Ulehla’s great-grandfather, and reinventing them in extremely stirring, avant-garde and post-rock musical language. This deeply personal project is fresh and bold, and the latest project by the prolific Bajakian who has worked with the likes of Lou Reed, John Zorn, and Nels Cline. Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Julia is also an ethnomusicologist and former opera singer who has collaborated on diverse music and theatre projects (Darius Jones, The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards). The first Dálava record (2014) received critical acclaim and was dubbed “a masterpiece” (Acoustic Music), “a work of creativity and imagination par excellence” (Inner Magazine), and described as “combining the richness of the old with the freshness and boldness of the new like no one else has done before” (Something Else Reviews). Dálava’s second album The Book of Transfigurations (released April 2017) delves into even deeper territory—conjuring ancestors, animating spirits, and crafting musical microcosms around the gem-like folk melodies. Though rooted in an avant, urban sonic language, this fractured village music channels the voices of a bygone era.