Baklava Express is a NYC based Middle Eastern fusion project, led by Oud player Josh Kaye. Their genre defiant sound has a tumulus presence with instrumentation ranging from oud to violins, guitar, qanun, bass, and percussion. With their debut album, Dàvka, The Baklava Express introduces their unique style that is influenced by traditions of the Arab world, Turkey, and Greece, as well as Jazz, Flamenco, Rock, and Eastern European Folk music. Let’s get into it! 

The album opens with Kosher Bacon. Its acoustic sprinkle is developed by a rich violin miasma that beckons the mystical desert imagery to the mind. With the voluptuous curves of the violin at the forefront, the band erects a detailed and intricate backdrop with airy folk beats and ruminative basslines. 

Up next, the title track follows with a jolly rhythm. Its expressive violin melodies follow in its predecessor’s footsteps in terms of sound but define its own character with high tempo undulations. The acoustic shadows cast form a parallel plane of sound that flourishes towards the middle of the song. I’ll Figure It Out has the ruminative rises that align with the theme of the song. The gloomy timbre of the oud plays a pronounced role; a beautiful contrast to the free violin flows. 

Reunion picks up the pace. Built for merriment and celebration, its air is guided by the percussion. It is drenched in touching emotion and set up for grandeur and entertainment. Up to Us has a versatile rhythm design, set into motion by the oud and the beats. Within the skipping contour, the violins flood, winking with soft acoustics. As the track progresses, the delicate dance of the acoustics lead us to ethereal screens of harmony; with its spontaneity and free rhythm perhaps alluding to the theme of the song. 

The Same River Twice opens with intentioned finger-plucking. The soothing bass textures carry into the flattened violin textures to create a monotonal pallet with an occasional lift. Seasoned with a wealth of folk elements, it  takes us high and low. Turtles All The Way Down marks the beginning of the album’s end. Its violin mosaics are confronted by the plucky freshness of the oud. The song shows off beautiful sequences of melody, fitted into a falling rhythm. Its spilling sound has the whimsical delight of turtles. 

Waltz For Omer has a hyperactive rhythm with European busking energy which melts into an Arabian sounding waltz song. Alternating between the two music cultures, the song is thoroughly engaging. Baklava Express ends the album. The self-titled song is a seamless mixture of styles. The violin soliloquy floats through varying frames of sound, each one tuned to a particular frequency. With clubs of oud,  whispers of guitar acoustics, and an expanding beat design, it offers a fitting climax. 

Baklava Express is Josh Kaye on Oud/Composition, Daisy Castro on Violin, John Murchinson on Qanun, Max O’Rourke on the Guitar, James Robbins on the Bass, and Jeremy Smith on Percussion. 

The album is available for streaming on popular sites like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music! 

You can listen to Dàvka by Baklava Express here – 

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