, Salem, MA


November 21, 2013

Folk duo Dala finds harmony together

The first time you see Dala, a Canadian folk duo, you might be forgiven for noticing that one of them is blond, the other brunette.

But there was a time when Amanda Walther, who will perform with partner Sheila Carabine at Me and Thee Coffeehouse tomorrow night, wanted nothing to do with hair.

“I shaved my head several times in school when I was 16,” Walther said. “I wanted to feel beautiful for who I was and not for any feminine associations.”

She did find someone who loved her, no matter what she looked like, and describes that experience in the song “First Love.”

“You loved me with my shaved head / even when the other boys were scared,” Walther wrote.

It’s a safe bet that local audiences won’t be thinking about Dala’s hair, either, once they hear them sing.

Walther’s soprano and Carabine’s alto have been described as angelic, but their voices also possess an intense strength, which they have been expressing since they were teens.

“We met in our high school band class,” Walther said. “We would always sing in the halls, anything that was good with harmonies. Our favorite was ‘Sweet Dreams’ from the Eurythmics.”

Harmony is still one of their trademarks and is captured in the composition of their name, Dala.

“It comes from the first names of myself and Sheila, ‘da’ from Amanda and ‘la’ from Sheila,” Walther said. “It sounded like something we had never heard before, and we were going to create its meaning through our music.”

The music they have created has been recorded on five albums and won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year in 2010.

That same year they were featured in “Girls from the North Country,” a concert that was broadcast on PBS, a year after they appeared at the Newport Folk Festival.

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