Guitarist Aram Bajakian has performed and worked with some of the most aesthetically diverse artists of our time. He had the distinct honor of playing beside rock legend and Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed during his final two tours in 2011 and 2012. Bajakian also performed over 100 concerts alongside multiple-Grammy-winner Diana Krall during her Glad Rag Doll Tour in 2012 and 2013. He has shared the stage with saxophonists John Zorn and Yusef Lateef, guitarists Marc Ribot and Nels Cline, saxophone virtuoso James Carter, bass legend Jamaaladeen Tacuma, violist Mat Maneri, the original Can singer Malcolm Mooney, Polaris Prize winner and Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq, and the Canadian super group the Barenaked Ladies.
Bajakian is a member of bassist Shanir Blumenkranz’s group Abraxas. The band has released two albums on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: the heralded Book Of Angels, Volume 19, and Psychomagia. In the summer of 2014, Bajakian performed in Grammy-winner Frank London’s (of the Klezmatics) new band the Glass House Project, which recreated the musical culture of Hungarian Jewish communities destroyed by the Holocaust. Bajakian leads several of his own groups, including Kef, a chamber string trio that plays arrangements of traditional Armenian songs. Kef’s first album is featured on the Tzadik’s Spotlight Series, and was listed as one of the Best World Music Albums of 2011 by PopMatters. Bajakian’s latest solo album, there were flowers also in hell (2014, Sanasar Records), has received universal praise, and was called “one of the best instrumental rock records of recent years,” by New York Music Daily and according to renowned critic Robert Christgau, “every track singular, every track strong. A-.”
Trained as an opera singer at Stanford University and the Eastman School of Music, vocalist and actress Julia Ulehla draws upon the work of her great-grandfather and the songs of her ancestors in Dálava. In operatic and oratorio repertoire she has appeared in numerous lyric mezzo roles, but for the last ten years she has worked with ritual song and in theatre and new music contexts. From 2007-2011 Julia was an actress with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (arguably the world’s greatest laboratory theater for exploration of the actor’s presence and the transmission of oral and song-based culture), and toured extensively throughout Europe and North America. After leaving the Workcenter she appeared in many NYC-based projects, including with vocalist Samita Sinha and choreographer Daria Fain, and before she relocated to Vancouver for graduate studies she was an original member of saxophonist/composer Darius Jones’ “Elizabeth-Caroline Unit” along with Amirtha Kidambi (Elder Ones), Jean Carla Rodea, and Sarah Dyson. In addition to her work as a performer Julia is now a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of British Columbia where her doctoral research explores traditional music from Moravia.
Dálava: Julia Ulehla (top), Aram Bajakian (bottom)