Despite her Dutch and Jewish, California-raised roots, Eva Salina has become completely devoted to the traditions of Balkan Romani gypsy folk tunes. Though her initial introduction to the world of such music was completely happenstance, as NPR would report, her devotion to it now, as a teacher of Balkan Romani music fully invested in her chosen craft, shows on her debut record. An ode to romantic Balkan outlaw Šaban Bajramović, Lema Lema is soaked in both respect of the culture that has inspired her music and the inquisitive, experimental tastes of the 21st century to help make her mark as an individualized artist.
Joining Salina on transforming the cover tracks pervading Lema Lema into works beyond the typical cover, lush and full of the verve that comes with a traditional acoustic song being reworked with full instrumentation, are a collection of local New York greats like acclaimed trumpeter and composer Frank London, accordionist Peter Stan, jazz-metal guitar virtuoso Brandon Seabrook, and celebrated percussionist Deep Singh. The end result is a delicately-crafted fair that showcases Salina’s admiration for and understanding of Balkan Romani traditions in a surprisingly graceful fusion with modern musical sentiments.