An exclusive look at Dala, one of the many talents taking the main stage at Hillside Festival

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

  • Singing their hearts out

    Singing their hearts out

Written by Stephanie Rennie

Four years ago I attended a Matthew Good concert at the River Run Centre in Guelph. I impatiently waited for the concert to begin as the opening band took the stage. Two young, vivacious womyn that appeared as mere dots from my seat filled the hall with echoes of beautiful sounds. It was on this day that I was first introduced to the musical magic of Dala and I have been smitten ever since.

The fun-loving group Dala is comprised of best friends Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine. Amanda and Shelia have been best friends for several years and began pursuing their shared interest in a musical career after high school.

For the past few years, Dala has been touring across North America and wooing each country with their fantastic music and energetic performances.  

Beginning their career as an opening band, Shelia of Dala reflects on that vital experience in their career. “We enjoyed being an opening act for Tom Cochrane and Matt Good. People don’t expect anything from the opening acts so you get twenty five minutes to win them over,” Shelia commented. They definitely succeeded in winning over the heart of many Canadians, myself included.

Shelia expressed the thrill and anxiety involved in becoming a headliner. “To step out as a headliner at first made us feel unworthy.” It is hard to imagine such a talented duo feeling undeserving of the audience that fills concert hall after concert hall to hear their music and their stories alike.

Their previous venue line-ups are extremely impressive as they performed at The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Edmonton Folk Festival, California’s Strawberry Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, and they are playing Guelph’s Hillside Festival next weekend.

Sheila Carabine discusses the evolution of Dala in terms of their progress in both recording and performing. She expressed the performance aspect as being filled more and more with “new stories each night” and how they would never be and are not “an animatronic show from chucky cheese.” On top of their performances, the girls have been spending a great deal of time in the studio to perfect their new album.

When listening to the lyrical element of Dala’s songs, it is evident that Amanda and Shelia derive much inspiration for their music from their personal lives. Shelia expressed that “we write what we know, we don’t force it. We want to be inspired, even if we have to wait for it.” It is quite obvious in their music that much passion and energy is injected into their songs that convey messages of love and loss.

When they are not busy writing and performing their own music, Dala seeks further musical motivation in the old music of The Beatles and Joni Mitchell, as well as the new sounds of The Black Keys and The Sheepdogs.

In anticipation of their upcoming show at Hillside next weekend, I asked Shelia what the audience can expect when seeing Dala take the stage on Saturday. Shelia commented that Dala would have “fresh, new stories and material since the last Hillside.” Amanda and Shelia are eager to perform and to watch other performers at Hillside next weekend.

To check out more information and upcoming tours, go to http://dalagirls.com/

For more information and to purchase tickets to Hillside Festival starting Friday July 22nd until Sunday July 24th, please visit http://www.hillsidefestival.ca/#/home/


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