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Dálava - World Music Wednesday

Old Town School of Folk Music
Event organized by Old Town School of Folk Music

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FREE, with a suggested donation of $10, unless otherwise noted and FREE with an Urban Gateways Teen Arts Pass.

Dálava is a unique cross-genre project that reflects a body of Moravian (Czech) folk songs of the 19th and early 20th century through the lens of 21st century creative jazz, world and post-rock styles. This is their second record – the self-titled 2014 release (Sanasar Records) featured a superb trio of New York string players. Now, American vocalist Julia Ulehla and guitar wizard Aram Bajakian (Lou Reed, John Zorn), musical and life partners, are joined by a new band of improvisers from Vancouver, where Julia is currently writing her PhD dissertation on this music. The songs are like fairy tales or compact, elliptical parables, and for each of them Dálava has crafted its own sound world. Inspired by her years in Italy as actress and singer at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, Julia animates their affecting melodies and archetypal storylines of love, death and the natural world through an improvisational yet ritual approach to performance. It's a kind of musical séance; indeed, there is a generations-long personal bond at work, as the songs were collected in his home village by her great grandfather Vladimir Úlehla, a botanist and ethnomusicologist who viewed folk songs as living organisms. So they prove to be in Dálava's bold, powerful and tender interpretations.

"…Sometimes delicate, sometimes punishing, but the beauty of the songs always comes through powerfully. Ulehla careens, sails, and shimmers through the varied interpretations with penetrating strength—her singing is sometimes heavenly and ethereal, sometimes gruff and earthy, as though she were channeling the spirit of a hardscrabble village woman who's known these songs her whole life." - Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

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