Dálava is an homage to traditional Moravian (Czech) folksong, sourcing melodies transcribed over 100 years ago by the great-grandfather of Dálava’s singer, Julia Ulehla, and reanimating them in an extremely stirring, avant-garde, post-rock musical language. Comprised of a group of stellar musicians from Vancouver, Dálava’s release The Book of Transfigurations (Songlines, 2017) has garnered critical acclaim. “Every now and then an album appears that is so overwhelming and so intense that it is hard to put into any category. Such is the case with The Book of Transfigurations…Saying that TBOT is a masterpiece is not an exaggeration” (Bas Springer, fRoots, August 2017). “It’s astonishing music—and the story behind its creation is emblematic of how Old World traditions can be born again, thousands of miles and several generations away from their roots” (Alex Varty, Georgia Straight, March 2017). “The album is not so much a fusion, more an exciting collision of tradition with experimentation, one that will equally appeal to fans of folk, avantgarde improv and jazz” (Jo Frost, Songlines Magazine, July 2017). In performance and on recording, the “incandescent” (Musicworks, Summer/Fall 2017) Dálava delves into deep territory—conjuring ancestors, animating spirits, and crafting musical microcosms around the gem-like folk melodies.
Masaryk, the new album from Czech-Canadian artist Lenka Lichtenberg, marks her first foray into celebrating the music of her country of birth. It just won a 2018 Independent Music Award and has been described as “breathlessly beautiful” (Moors Magazine), and a “lovely album that will appeal across a wide listener audience” (Vancouver Sun). The deeply personal new release revisits the classic Czech, Moravian and Slovak folk songs that permeated Lenka’s early childhood and commemorates the recent passing of her beloved mother.
Masaryk resonates with an emotional depth that is both striking and heartfelt, and the lyrical beauty of these lesser-known musical treasures is well-served by Lenka’s soaring, clarion voice. The arrangements are based on a seminal songbook published in 1948 by Jan Masaryk – an accomplished pianist, beloved public servant, and son of Czechoslovakia’s founding president, T.G. Masaryk. The songbook has been Lenka’s companion since childhood, and has long been a cornerstone of her journey as an artist. The ‘Masaryk’ band premiered at the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. in November, and recently returned from a tour of the Czech Republic. This show will be the Canada launch for both the album and the crack band which features; David Buchbinder (trumpet), Alan Hetherington (percussion), Anita Katakkar (tabla), Demetri Petsalakis (guitar/lyra/oud), and Michael Herring (bass).