Bahadır Han Eryılmaz, better known as Barista, is an Istanbul-based musician who only begun his venture into music eight years ago. His debut release, ‘Daydream’, premiered in 2014 and was quickly followed up by ’57’ in 2016. His third album, “Open Sesame” is the continuation of these two earlier projects and was released on April 16, 2021. The tunes Han creates are heavily influenced by his own experiences, while also echoing musical inspiration from the likes of Toto, Journey, Supertramp, The Alan Parsons Project, and an array of Turkish folk tradition, including Sufism.

The recordings, on ‘Open Sesame’ – excluding the Turkish vocals – were done at Carbonite Sound in the ‘musician’s colony’ of Ojai, CA. With features from Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp, Kenny Loggins), Rudiger (Guns’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Sara Azriel (Pink Martini), and Lydia Salnikova (Kenny Rogers, BO) as well as Barista’s musical idol Simon Phillips on drums. Released via Turkish indie label MonoPlay Records, the album was engineered by Jason Mariani.

The album, which has been three years in the making so far, will be divided into 5 volumes, the first being the 7- track “Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress”. What we have here is some of the most talented musicians and singers on the scene, coming together on an album that raises the bar and levels of nostalgia. Dipping into his roots and passions, this recording from Barista is a classy and hugely impressive slab of classic rock, tinged with plenty of soul and spirit.

“Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress” displays the talent Barista has and the versatility his vocals can accomplish.  Despite some of the songs making me feel like I was a kid again listening to my favorite classic rock bands, Barista can belt out some emotionally soulful moments which are on display in the songs, “Circular Lives” and “Her Dress”, where he often reminds me of legendary Journey vocalist, Steve Perry.

“Disco Sun”, featuring a female vocal and a fiery guitar solo, has a fluid driving beat that’ll make you dance or at least tap your feet, which I repeatedly had to catch myself from doing. The more I listened to “In The Dream”, the more memories came flooding back throughout my life. Barista’s lyrics and vocal delivery have a way of igniting a vast array of memories and sentiments.

When I mention that this project has many rocking moments, I’m not kidding. “Watching The End Begin, Part 1 (Coffee Song)” pulls you in, grips its claws into you, as Barista rocks out with a raspy vocal and a driving beat. The template changes on the gentler and slower “Walk In My Shoes” and mid-tempo “Be Mine”, both of which feature stunning female vocals.

Songs like these have an undoubtedly canny ability to make listeners reflect, while reaching the heart and soul of your being. So, if you want to expand on your catalogue of music, “Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress” is a positive change of pace from the everyday riff raff as it is filled with great vocals and excellent music. Just open your mind up and you may just find other things you’ll enjoy, besides the current Top40.

OFFICIAL LINKS: SPOTIFY