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Review: ArHai - Eastern Roads
Album Cover - Eastern Roads
Eastern Roads
 Artist: ArHai
 Album: Eastern Roads
 Date of Release: 2013/05/06
 Label: Balkanworlds Records
 Cat. No.: BW 001
 Country of Release: UK
 Genre/s: World

 Sub-Genre/s: Folktronica
 Type: Studio
   Time: 46:30
   Date of Review: 2013/04/13
   Web Site:  
   Sample Track

Purchasing Info

Eastern Roads

ArHai's Eastern Roads is to be released on 6th May on Balkanworlds Records. It is their first studio release in their current configuration of Jovana Backovic, vocals, keyboards and programming, and Adrian Lever, tambura, guitar, electric piano and double bass, active since 2008.

Forget the 'Balkans' connection for a moment. This is folktronica per excellence, at its very, very best. It is unlikely in the extreme that you would have heard its equal, let alone better before. The first thing that strikes one when listening to this album is the almost unbelievable beauty of this music. To quote a line from the song Speaking Clock, if out of context, 'enough to make you cry.' The second thing to strike is a certain, distant reminder of the Agnes Buen Garnås with Jan Garbarek album Rosensfole from the 1980s (arguably Garbarek's best ever album, without a hint of his frosty sax but electronic percussion instead, if memory serves), re-released several times since. Eastern Roads distantly reminds of this in general feel and especially in the pure vocals, but exceeds it in beauty still.

Jovana Backovic's vocals are superb, and both her and Adrian Lever's musicianship are outstanding. Lever, along with guitar, electric piano and double bass, plays the tambura. This is a member of the long-necked lute family of Middle Eastern/Central Asian origin that, through its popularity especially in Turkey spread through the Balkans, and is here exquisitely played by Lever. Ismail Hakki Ates guest-duets with Backovic on Ismail, wordlessly and to beautiful effect. The other additional musicians are nothing short of excellent, too.

The Balkans may dominate in tunes and influence on Eastern Roads, but there are also forays into territories much further east, as well as more west in the sense of contemporary British folk. An altogether superb fusion. But above all, this is folktronica. Correct this - above all, this is brilliant and beautiful music. Achingly beautiful.

There is not a lot else to say about an album as good and as brilliant as Eastern Roads. Consistency rules from beginning to end. If the sheer magic of this album does not exert its full force upon you and totally charm and mesmerise you, it is not a problem with Eastern Roads. Upon first listening to this truly amazing album, I found myself compelled to listen four times straight, before having to force myself to return to the real world and get on with other tasks. It is very, very difficult, nay next to impossible, to tear oneself away from the magical charm and haunting, aching beauty of Eastern Roads, its ethereal, almost otherworldly attraction. It is simply irresistible.

ArHai's Eastern Roads is an album to die for and an absolute must have for anyone who loves great and beautiful music, but especially for the folk and 'world music' aficionado. But beware - it really is like a drug, totally addictive! Buy as soon as you can!

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Track List:

 1. Eastern Road - 4:52
 2. Beneath The Tree - 3:26
 3. Peregrinus - 5:11
 4. Morena - 3:07
 5. Speaking Clock - 3:47
 6. Tino - 3:48
 7. Tudora - 4:23
 8. Dance Of The Bacchants - 4:04
 9. Simbil Flowers - 5:19
10. Ismail - 4:46
11. Jasmine - 3:41
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Jovana Backovic - vocals, keyboards, programming
Adrian Lever - tambura, guitar, electric piano, double bass

Additional musicians
Jesse Barrett - tabla (2,6,8)
Nick Van Gelder - percussion
Matteo Grassi - electric bass (1-3, 5-8, 10)
Ismail Hakki Ates - vocals (10)


Purchasing Info:

Eastern Roads can be purchased from:


Usual outlets like Amazon, iTunes, etc. TF

Other online sources?

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