Dala = AmanDA Walther and SheiLA Carabine. They are two very talented young women from Toronto who make music that takes your breath away. Their music could be labeled acoustic pop but it has tinges of folk and maybe even a little soul. They are winners of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for the Best Vocal Band of the year. I like what this writer from the Peterborough Examiner has to say about Amanda and Sheila. “Dala can sing! What beautiful flights of melody and harmony, reminiscent of the Everly Brothers, the Louvin Brothers, Emmylou Harris and associates; though Dala can trade a melody line and leave one wondering who is taking the lead and simply leave one behind when the harmonies kick in.”
To learn more about Dala, visit their website.
Here’s a video that will give you an idea of what Dala is all about.
Thanks to Amanda for taking the time out to answer some of my questions.
You’ve played all over — do you have any favorite gigs that jump to mind?
Playing “Levi Blues” on the main stage at the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival was amazing! Definitely a “scrapbook” moment.
You’ve been playing together since high school. How did that musical connection come about?
Sheila and I always connected over music. We met in band class, we sang in the halls at school and we grew up listening to the same classic singer-songwriters. It was a match made in music heaven.
Do you recall the first time you sang together in public? How did it go?
Our first performance was at a club in Toronto (that no longer exists) called Holy Joe’s. We got up and played the only three songs we had written so far. It was so exciting that all we wanted to do afterwards was write and sing together!
Have you always incorporated so many different instruments into your live set? (guitar, keyboards, ukulele, glockenspiel…anything else I’m missing?)
We started off writing our songs on guitar and piano so it was natural to perform with those two instruments. Over the years we’ve written on other new (and smaller) instruments. It’s amazing how a different sound can inspire songs we didn’t know were in us.
Do you write all your songs together or are some of them solo compositions?
We write a lot of our songs together, but we do write separately from time to time. One of my favourite songs of Sheila’s, for example, is called “Fishing Boats” which she composed while on vacation in Ireland.
How did the “Girls from the North Country” TV special come about? What was it like to participate in such a cool program?
“Girls from the North Country” was a blast to put together and record! We had always been inspired by Canadian songwriters and when PBS approached us about a music special we jumped at the chance to add our own spin to the classic songs we grew up listening to.
Do you have any musical wishes on your list? Would you, for instance, like to record with someone you admire, or would you like to play a particular venue or city?
I would love to do a tour of Ireland. We have many Irish fans and have yet to perform there.
What’s up next for Dala?
Right now all I can think about is our returning show at the Wintergarden in Toronto. Playing our hometown is always special. Beyond that, I can’t wait to see where our new songs take us.