, Salem, MA


November 21, 2013

Folk duo Dala finds harmony together


“What’s bonded us together is that our musical aesthetic was very similar,” Walther said. “Sheila and I always wanted to go sonically to the same place, lyrically and musically, in our 11 years together.”

They started writing songs one night after Walther had graduated from high school and was attending art college in Toronto.

“It was after a party and the last guest had left,” Walther said. “That’s when the electricity happened.”

From the start, they have composed songs by bouncing ideas back and forth, working out the harmonies and melodies at the same time, while each contributes lyrics.

“Sheila’s more poetic, and I’m very matter-of-fact in lyrics,” Walther said. “We balance each other out.”

One of their most successful songs, “Horses,” voted one of the 10 best folk songs of 2009 by National Public Radio, seemed to write itself.

“That song came from somewhere else; we were just the conduits,” Walther said.

It drew on the experience of meeting a young man who was paralyzed after an accident that damaged his spinal cord.

“He was unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair,” Walther said. “He has so much personality; it really puts things in perspective. He’s a shining light of a person. It changed us and moved us.”

The album “Best Day,” which was released last year, is dedicated to the singers’ families and includes songs that honor their parents.

“No one loves you like that twice / and waits up half the night,” Carabine writes in “Not Alone.” “And only when it is my turn will I know, / what it is like.”

Walther contributed the lyrics to “Father,” which thanks him for never imposing a curfew and admiring the way he “gets right in there with both / hands and gets dirty.”

“We feel the same way about our parents,” Walther said. “It’s taken us this long to be able to voice our feelings of their influence. It’s a homecoming in a way.”

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