Best friends since high school, acoustic pop duo Dala took Canada by storm and are ready to blow into the U.P. They will perform at Northern on Saturday as part of the Women’s History Month.
The group is made up of Canadian singers-songwriters Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther. Dala formed about nine years ago after Sheila and Amanda met in their high school music class and became best friends. The name Dala is a combination of the last two letters of each of their first names.
“When we started singing together we didn’t have a name,” Carabine said. “We just went with Amanda and Sheila or Sheila and Amanda, however we felt that day.”
Dala spent the last few years touring all over Canada opening for well-known artists. They have performed in California, London and Canada and said they are very excited to perform in Michigan.
Since the duo has been together for more than nine years, they’ve become confident with their writing and performing. Their harmony comes naturally and blends seamlessly together.
“That’s part of being an artist: hoping that your next song is better than the last,” Carabine said. “Amanda can harmonize with the vacuum cleaner.”
The song that Carabine is most proud of is “Horses,” a song from the album “Girls from the North Country.” The song was written for a fan that had to overcome a lot of obstacles over his life. The fan was in an accident when he was a teenager yet remains a positive and funny person, Carabine said. Dala used the song Horses to pay tribute to that special fan.
“I really feel like I never would have chosen (being a musician) without the encouragement and support and the knowledge that there was this safety net of support around me,” Carabine said.
Among the support that has been in her life, her family and friends have been among her largest supporters. Carabine’s parents come to a lot of the shows. Dala’s manager and producer is the one they credit the most for discovering them.
“He’s kind of like the Wizard of Oz,” Carabine said. “He’s the man behind the curtain.”
Dala has received many awards but the top of their list is winning Vocal Group of the Year in 2010. They are currently nominated for a Juno Award, a Canadian folk music award.
“It’s our first red carpet, so we’re working on our red carpet poses,” Carabine said. “It’s something we’re both very excited about.”
Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier Heritage Center and fellow folk singer-songwriter, played a key role in bringing Dala to Northern’s campus.
“Their music is much more timeless, not just influenced by the latest one hit wonder,” Truckey said. “In every generation there are certain styles that are rooted in great song writers, tradition, a little about today and about the past.”
The NMU International Performing Arts Series is bringing Dala to the Forest Roberts Theatre on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this production can be purchased at the Forest Roberts Theatre box office, Superior Dome, NMU Bookstore or the Vista Theatre in Negaunee. For students, tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door. Tickets for NMU’s faculty/staff and senior citizens cost $13 in advance and $15 dollars at the door. Tickets for the general public are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.
The International Performing Arts Series is conducting an online poll for one of next year’s concerts. All but one have been selected and the public has the opportunity to vote between six acts to choose the final show. The poll will be open through Monday, March 14, and the general public may vote. To take the poll, visit www.nmu.edu/performingarts and follow the link on the homepage.