Photo: Santiago de Hoyos

Julia Úlehla

(US)

Julia Úlehla is a vocalist, composer, ethnomusicologist, and actress, born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1978 to a Czech refugee-émigré father and Cherokee-Welsh mother. She received formal training in opera and other Western Art Music genres at Stanford University and the Eastman School of Music. Later on she became a resident actress with the renowned laboratory theatre Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, Italy, where she co-devised four performative opuses which toured extensively across Europe and North America.

In 2011, Julia Úlehla relocated to New York City, where she and her husband, guitarist Aram Bajakian, initiated a new line of performance research based on the ancestral song tradition of her father’s lineage, sourcing folk songs that were collected and transcribed by her great-grandfather, biologist Vladimír Úlehla. The emergent result was the creation of Dálava, a project that lies at the nexus of ritual and performance, evoking the liminal intensity of layered temporalities and the conjuring of ancestral presences. Dálava is often described as shamanic and primordial. It is lauded as one of the most intensely dynamic and electrifying bands in Vancouver, where the couple relocated as Julia Úlehla is currently completing a PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of British Columbia. Her publications include an English translation of Chapter VI of her great-grandfather’s book “Živá píseň” (Living Song, 1949).

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