| Amanda Walther, left, and Sheila Carabine, right, have been friends since high school and basically merged all their best parts into Dala, which plays Sun Valley Thursday, Nov. 1. Courtesy photo
Whats a Dala? And no, it’s not what makes Honey Boo Boo Chile hollah.
It’s a pairing of two voices so sweet that the listener is delivered a gift so extraordinary that it defines the word.
It’s two otherworldly voices joined in such a way that if they were to sing the Vietnam protest song “Ohio,” as Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther so mournfully do, adjusted with lyrics to meet today’s world woes and wars, people might just put down their weapons and believe again. Especially when they hear the two break out in joyful rebuke of disappointment and support of do-overs in “Best Day.”
When you grow up, you’re going to be, more than you ever dreamed of.
And if you get lost, lead the parade, and then you’ll never be afraid.
Just feel the sun on your skin, you are as free as the wind
Because every day is the best day of your life
Or allow vulnerability to simply be a mask of strength to test the waters of romance like in “Lonely Girl.”
She wears her body, like a lifetime achievement. It fills the silence, when she doesn’t know the words. And he is working, on his lifetime achievement,
But all they want is to be instantly, intimate. You’ve got no mother, when you’re dressed up for strangers. You keep pretending, that you never feel the pain. And he holds his lovers, like they’re quarters for payphones. They fill the silence, and he doesn’t even know their names. But I’m a lonely girl, na na na na. And I could change the world, and everything I am. But I’d rather be alone, than someone that you take home.
The duo, now five albums strong and making its way across America and into their iPods, answered some questions by email to introduce themselves before their upcoming show Thursday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sun Valley Opera House. Carabine did the typing, but there is no doubt these two collaborated.
You met in high school in Canada, but what drew you together?
We both have the same sense of humor, and the same taste in music. That was what immediately drew us together in high school. We were both singers and instrumentalists in the music department, so we spent a lot of time hanging around the same haunts.
How soon into your relationship did you find your voices joined could make something incredible?
A few years into our friendship, we found ourselves writing a song together on guitar. The thrill of that collaborative process is the same to this day.
Who were your first audiences?
We started out performing at variety nights all around downtown Toronto. We made friends with a loose collection of other artists and performers, and everyone would take turns debuting new material. It was a very exciting time.
How did you get discovered?
We met our current manager after a year of performing and writing together. He encouraged us to keep exploring our potential as a duo, and above all to practice, practice, practice. It is amazing how far the encouragement of another person can take you.
Is there an Alpha or are you equals?
I have tried to get Amanda to refer to me as “Alpha,” but she refuses. Ha ha. No, we are very much equals. We balance each other and give each other space within the musical partnership. We share the lead, whether it’s on stage, or whether we’re taking turns filling up the rental van on long drives.
Are you greatest strengths in your similarities or your differences?
Great question. I think that we overlap in some really important areas. We are both very focused and we both love music. That keeps us on the same page as we move forward with our big dream. But our differences keep the songwriting and the live performances very fresh. We never know what the other person is going to come up with, and that is exciting for us as well as the audience.
As longtime BFFs, are you able to give other constructive criticism or do you have a mediator for that?
We have had to use Judge Judy on a few occasions. Mostly though, we are sensitive to each other’s vulnerabilities. Our ultimate goal as collaborative writers is to get the song to a point where we are both equally excited about it. It’s all or nothing.
What does Dala mean?
Dala is a moniker we created using the last two letters of both of our names—AmanDA and SheiLA.
If you two were on that reality show “The Voice” where they listen to you but don’t see you, do you think it would be the first tie in their history or does you music work its best as a duo?
All I know is, they should turn their chairs around because we have moves like Jagger, and they’re missing it.
Audiences love your sound, but what does singing do for you?
Singing is our way of saying exactly what we mean. It’s our truth serum.
Experience the music
When: Thursday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Sun Valley Opera House.
Cost: $20 SunValley Center members/$30 nonmembers /$10 students (18 and under).
Find them: Online at www.sunvalleycenter.org
Preview Dala: www.dalagirls.com.