This week we welcome London-based five-piece Bahla to our guest playlist series.
Formed by Venezuelan pianist Joseph Costi and English guitarist Tal Janes, Balha breaks new ground with their unique mix of cinematic jazz entangled with Jewish folklore.
One of last years best debut releases and one of our favourite emerging new bands, Bahla have been championed by the likes of MOJO, The Line Best Fit and Mercury-nominated vocalist ESKA. Their LP titled Imprints is a collection of 8 songs inspired by different stories of identity, migration and displacement.
For their guest playlist, Bahla has put together an eclectic selection of musical influences, which includes everything from Shai Maestro to Nick Hakim.
“We couldn’t find all the Jewish music we discovered on Spotify, but there are still a few gems from Russia, Morocco, Yemen and Spain in here. We’ve included songs and artists that we love and have influenced us in one way or another – particular the contemporaries like Shai Maestro and Tigran Hamasyan who beautifully bring together many influences into one.
Sakhnovski’s Dobranitshl : We met Joel Rubin and Alan Bern at Kelzfest 2015, and it was an enlightening experience. They taught us how to phrase and construct melodies and the stories behind the beautiful Nigunims (songs without words).
When we write our own music, we try to capture the spirit of this, and we aim to tell a definite story even when there’re no words in the music
This track features all of these elements and travels through different styles in Jewish music that are dearly close to our hearts
3:05 – RJ Miller – The way this song builds and grows is so beautiful, we think a lot about shape and sounds in our writing, and this was a big inspiration.
Crimson Waves – Malcom Braff: Our drummer Ben introduced us to this song and this grooves even if you can’t understand what’s happening. The ending has this final release of harmony which is so glorious, we took inspiration for the ending of our song Nigun Simcha.
Louis Danto is a Russian cantor who was one of the first Jewish singers we came across. He was part of a movement called Yiddish Art Songs which was essentially classical composers re-arranging Jewish folk songs. We adored his singing and learnt a lot about phrasing, time feel and dynamics from his music.” Bahla
You can catch the band live on 25th October at the Elgar Room in the Royal Albert Hall. Head here for tickets.
Buy music from Bahla on Bandcamp.