“Dala seem bound for a loftier place where substance stands equal to style.”
Juno nominees and winners of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year, Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of Dala write and sing in harmony best described as angelic. These two best friends met in their high school music class in 2002; they have since released five albums and toured extensively across North America. Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala are now poised to bring their fresh brand of acoustic pop music to the world.
Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful. Amanda’s ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila’s velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have become their trademark.
“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, which would be just as at home in a 1960s coffeehouse as it is now on the contemporary concert stage”.
The sheer joy with which they perform is infectious, turning first-time listeners into instant fans. Dala are equally entertaining between songs, telling funny and down to earth stories that make every show unique.
Dala have opened for artists such as Tom Cochrane, Stuart McLean of the CBC’s Vinyl Café, Richie Havens and Arlo Guthrie. No strangers to the festival scene, they have also performed at The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Edmonton Folk Festival, California’s Strawberry Festival and Mariposa. In 2009, they were the only Canadian act invited to play at the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival.
Dala’s album “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 song “Horses” was nominated by National Public Radio in the US as one of the “Top Ten folk songs of 2009″.
“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 Ontario
In the summer of 2010, Dala’s PBS special “Girls From The North Country” was broadcast across North America. This concert features Dala’s own songs weaved around classics by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot. The live CD and DVD for “Girls From The North Country” earned Dala the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for “Vocal Group of the Year”.
The live album was nominated for a 2011 Juno Award in the category “Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Group”.
Sheila's Mom: Margaret Carabine, maiden name O'Sullivan. Margaret's father, Eugene Patrick O'Sullivan was from Cork City. Margaret's mother, Teresa Geraghty was from Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Margaret grew up in Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare. She moved to Toronto, Canada in 1967.
Amanda’s Mum: Betty McDowell's mother (Amanda's great grandmother), Mary Finucane, was from Co. Clare, Ireland. She married Brigadier A.E. Colonel Edward McDowell. Amanda's Dad: Dominic Walther, moved from England to Canada with his family in the 1960's. Dominic's father, Malcolm Walther, was born in St. Leonard’s-on-sea, Sussex in 1913. Dominic's mother, Betty McDowell, was born in Muzaffarpur, India in 1912.
Amanda and Sheila wrote 'Horses' after meeting a fan with an incredibly moving personal story. Now in his twenties, Ken Morrow was in a near-fatal rollerblading accident as a teenager. He suffered a spinal cord injury, and as a result he cannot walk or speak. Still very much aware of what goes on around him, Ken struggles to communicate non-verbally.
Both of us were very moved by that meeting, very inspired and humbled. And usually, when we are overwhelmed by something, we write a song about it”. Amanda and Sheila have described 'Horses' as an attempt to give Ken a voice.