Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala are now poised to bring their fresh, lush brand of acoustic music to the world.
Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan – and more recently American folk singer Eliza Gilkyson, Radiohead and Fleet Foxes – Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful, as well as lyrical.
Walther's ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Carabine's velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have truly become their trademark. Underscoring their intertwining harmonies is the duo's accompaniment from guitar, ukulele, piano, and sometimes drums. Critics and fans have understandably focused on Dala's pure harmonics, but their clever, often poignant, lyrics have equal appeal.
What drew Dala together initially was their shared love of the absurd – a quirky, irreverent and occasionally self-critical brand of humor that comes out as clearly in their music as it does their onstage banter. "We go to some emotional places in our music," Walther said. "Humor serves as a relief from that, and a way to give the audience permission to laugh." The more spontaneous the dialogue between songs, Carabine added, the better the performance and the more memorable the evening.
That is exactly the quality Dala hopes to capture with every song they write and record – a high standard, perhaps, but one they credit producer, Mike Roth, for holding them to in the studio.
Throughout their career, the duo have toured tirelessly, building their following the old-fashioned way, turning first-time listeners into instant, die-hard fans, winning five Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Juno nomination.
Dala has played all over North America and for the highest profile music festivals, including New Orleans Jazz Fest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denver's Swallow Hill, the Lowell Summer Concert Series, and the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival in 2009 – where Dala were the only Canadian act invited to play.
In 2010, Dala hosted a PBS special prime-time concert entitled "Girls From The North Country," which aired all over North America with multiple plays in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston Portland, Austin, Cleveland, Charlotte and more.
This concert features Dala's own songs woven around classics by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot.
Here's a sampling of what music critics have said about Dala's music:
"There 's nothing pretentious about Dala 's music; it's stripped down and laid bare. That's not to say it is without polish – far from it. Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther have worked hard to exploit every facet of their extraordinary musical blend, and it would be just as at home in a 1960s coffee house as it is now on the contemporary concert stage." – Andrew Craig, host of CBC, Canada Live
"Dala seem bound for a loftier place where substance stands equal to style." – The Irish Times
"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." – Peterborough Examiner
Dala steady output of albums is a clear indicator of their success and their rapport with listeners. "Everyone Is Someone" was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. It earned them their fifth Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Folk Group, and it was touted by The Irish Post as the "Album of the Year." The lovely song, "Horses" was nominated by National Public Radio in the US as one of the "Top Ten folk songs of 2009." Dala released its fifth studio record, "Best Day" in June, 2012 on Compass Records. The album was nominated for three Canadian Folk Music Awards: English Songwriter of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Producer of the Year.
If this Canadian acoustic-folk two-piece musical group is new to you, have a look at http://www.dalagirls.com/ or a listen at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra5WznwO6SA&list=PL58D98C296263738E. Then come to enjoy the unique harmonies and touching lyrics of Dala at the all-volunteer, family-friendly Music Hall, also known as the Ontario Center for Performing Arts, at the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego.
The atmosphere is intimate with candle-lit tables surrounding a small stage with omemade desserts, popcorn and beverages available for purchase.
Tickets can be purchased on-line at http://oswegomusichall.org/ or at the river's end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St.in Oswego. Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. on the day of the concert will have preferred seating. After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.
Ticket prices are $14 if purchased in advance and $16 at the door. Children 12 and younger are half-price; younger than 5 is free.
For the best deal – lowest ticket prices and prime seating – Season Passes and All-Season Passes are available and may be purchased at any show.
For information contact, membership secretary, Carol Forrest, at 343-2988.
The Music Hall's next concert this season will be April 20, featuring Tracy Grammer – "One of the finest pure musicians anywhere in folkdom," according to The Boston Globe. Music Hall concerts are made possible in part with funding by the NYS Council on the Arts.
For more information, call 315-342-1733 or access the Music Hall website at http://oswegomusichall.org/.