Dala8pm, FridayJanuary 29th 2010St. James Hall3214 West 10th Avenue
at Trutch St. in Kitsilano
On a warm Saturday afternoon at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival a couple of years ago I was feeling weary and a little uninspired. I retreated to a patch of grass on the upper slopes of Gallaher Park and lay back and closed my eyes, happy to be away from the big crowds at the bottom of the hill, and open to hearing something new. What I heard was the sublime music of Ontario duo Dala. Amanda Walther and Sheila Carrabine write songs about being young and discovering life, love and all the wonders of this amazing journey we're on. Their songs are melodic, catchy, and utterly compelling. They were the perfect addition to my festival experience that day, and I've been hooked ever since. I didn't get to see them again until last February in Memphis at the Folk Alliance. I was immediately captivated once more by their new songs. I think one of the things I like best about them is their enunciation. It's not just that every word carries meaning and is delivered so eloquently, it's also a delightful trait in Carrabine's singing: at the end of a line, just as the message is beginning to fade into that part of the brain that processes the meaning, and the last word is a distant whisper, she appends the final consonant in a breathy whisper. It all happens in a microsecond, but it is a totally endearing quality that keeps me coming back for more.
Their latest CD - their 4th - is called Everyone Is Someone. They have videos available on iTunes - Anywhere Under The Moon is my personal favourite - so far - and they have also recorded wonderful versions of Neil Young's Ohio and Donovan's Catch The Wind. That's where their roots can be found, but their harmonies are uniquely their own.