Eva Salina grew up immersed within the Balkan music community that highly revered the work of Serbian singer Šaban Bajramović, whose work in the 1960s and 1970s made him a star among Yugoslavians, the Romani and the diaspora of both groups. Salina studied Balkan singing from a young age and first traveled to the Balkans at the tender age of 12 to study the culture. Performing steadily around New York, Salina got the idea to record a tribute to the legendary Bajramović, but filtered through her own NYC jazz and worldbeat influences. Salina also secured the involvement of noted area bands such as Slavic Soul Party!, Kultur Shock, and the Klezmatics to help work on the tribute. “I Barval Pudela” is the first single from LEMA LEMA, which releases today. It’s a gorgeous tune that highlights the complex singing style employed in Balkan music and shows off Salina’s stunning voice.
Eva Salina‘s LEMA LEMA releases February 11th via Vogiton Records.
“‘I Barval Pudela’, the song that closes LEMA LEMA, might be the most sonically familiar and accessible to the Western ear, but in fact it represents the boldest departure from tradition of any song on the record. In re-inventing Šaban Bajramović’s songs, I walked innovation’s tightrope with a commitment to avoid imitation, exaggeration, or caricature—all of which, I felt, were contrary to my creative vision and disrespectful to Saban’s artistic legacy. Most of the world loves American rock. Serbia is no exception, and has a healthy and active rock scene with its own unique sound. In my “Pudela”, I brought together American musicians with solid rock backgrounds (Brandon Seabrook, Chris Stromquist, Ron Caswell, who also have years of experience with Balkan music) to form the foundation of the track, and encouraged the production to err on the side of American rock. Rooting the vocals to the tradition was primarily my job. While initial arrangement concepts for this song vacillated between rock and brass fanfare, ultimately the two join together, forming an epic, layered sound suitable for a king’s processional—in this case my crowning, commemorative march for Šaban, may he rest in peace.”
// Notes from the Road
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