TGPer Aram Bajakian's Dalava Album is Out!


Perhaps Dalava could be described as prepared guitar, mid-century Moravian photography, Gimbri, corksniffer pleasing fuzzboxes, violin, ebow and a little glockenspiel playing poetic Carpathian folk songs which were transcribed over a hundred years ago. Oh, and there’s also an operatic vocal swooping and swooning over the top of all of it.

That robust, wild voice happens to belong to the great-granddaughter of the guy who originally transcribed these songs for preservation. But instead of being precious about it and making a record that keeps these songs formal and stilted, Julia Ulehla’s worked with her husband, our fellow TGPer, Aram Bajakian to co-produce a killer record that feels as New York as the Voivods despite singing about Straznice and forest groves. They pay honor to Ulehla’s ancestors by pushing Eastern European folk tunes to a place unimaginable when these songs were last played.

In the hands of most people, this would be pretentious and unlistenable, but that’s where Aram Bajakian’s greatest strengths kick in. As a player, Bajakian is adventurous and technically fluent, but he chooses tasteful turns over virtuosic flair. His guitar work fits the tracks, chaotically flailing and then falling silent quicker than you can say, “Are Sonic Youth Czech?” Where this record separates Bajakian from contemporaries like Marc Ribot and Nels Cline is that it finds him at times playing parts a beginner could write, but doing so with a richness and elegance fitting to the mood and tone of the music at hand. There’s a reason that luminaries like John Zorn, Marc Ribot and Lou Reed have called on him.

Buy it; Support an independent musician who adds a lot to the guitar community and freely posts on TGP. If you hate Aram because you’re jealous or you still hold a grudge because he talked **** about a pedal you dig on a forum, then support Julia Ulehla, who had the chutzpah to sing Moravian tunes her great-grandfather transcribed with the zealous intensity of a punk rocker. Buy it as penance for a ****** thing you did when you were younger. Just pick a reason and buy it.

The album is seven bucks and it comes with incredible artwork and lyrics pretty enough to write in the next love note you give to your girlfriend (or if it’s a sympathy card try this one: Whether man or king, everyone must pass away, everyone must lay his bones in the black earth).


The Fool
Gold Supporting Member
Spot on, at least the first half, which is as far as I've gotten. ;)

Thanks for a great recommendation.


Hey everyone,

Just wanted to share the videos that we made for this album.

They both contain rarely seen footage of Dr. Vladimír Úlehla's 1932 film about Czech folk life entitled Disappearing World.

Also we've been getting some killer reviews for the album.

The album has been called "groundbreaking" by Vancouver's Georgia Straight, “a masterpiece” by,
“a work of creativity and imagination par excellence” by,
and is said to “combine the richness of the old with the freshness and boldness of the new like no one else has done before”


Last edited:

Trending Topics

Top Bottom