Nothing astounds me more than the processes whereby artists become popular. While I certainly have nothing against the likes of Katie Perry or Miley Cyrus or even Britney Spears, I stand amazed at the windstorm of publicity that shot them to the top in a matter of seconds while artists of more substance and more than equal talent lay in the aftermath of the media blitz. There aren't enough fingers and toes in the city of New York to count those buried beneath the carpet bombing tactics of a so-called free media as anxious to create and capitalize on the next big thing or the present sensational happening as spread the good word (and the good music). Too many people cast the phenomenon in a simple phrase—"The media sucks!"—and they are not that far from wrong. The good news, though, is that while that media slowly disintegrates beneath the power of the Internet (watch the government try to sell THAT out from under us), the truth is slowly beginning to filter through.
And it doesn't filter through any better than it does on Dala's Everyone Is Someone album. A new/old release (it has been available in Canada for some time but is getting a new lease on life in the States via Compass Records), it has that certain something which the media could use to fuel a media storm, but they won't. That would take creativity and at least a semblance of ethics and from what I've seen, there is little left (at least in the mainstream). That's okay, though. Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther have creativity enough without the media. They need neither blitz nor storm. All they need is a chance. Thanks to their Canadian backers and fans and now Compass Records, they should get that chance. They deserve it.
They have, in fact, earned it. The last two years they have crisscrossed the continent, east to west and north to south, working their asses off singing to just about anyone who would listen. And I'd lay down a huge bet that the majority who listened were better for the experience.
What do you want? Melody? Harmony? Hooks? These girls give it to you one track after another, from the smooth and heartwrenching Crushed and Horses to the upbeat but still outstandingly beautiful Lonely Girl and Alive. When critics insist that Dala sings folk, I point to these. These are Pop and not just Pop, but Pop of a higher realm. And to be truthful, I wouldn't call them Pop if it wasn't necessary for communication. I love it when the music is so good that it transcends definition and, yes, I think Dala's music is that good.
Know what? I'm going to do something I rarely do. I am going to give you a link to a review I wrote over a year ago but which holds true today. It is on my own website (http://www.rockandreprise.net/dala.html). I apologize, but be assured that this is not about myself but about the music and contains a couple of videos which might illuminate my case (Why is it that every time I write about the music I love that it feels like I need to argue?). Watch the videos, if you have the time. Soak in the beauty of the voices and the purity of the songwriting. Then go buy the CD(s).
Oh. Those parentheses? Compass let it leak that in the near future there could well be US releases of the earlier two Dala albums. Which reinforces my belief that the music industry isn't dying, it is just changing. And if those albums make their way into the US market, that is a good change, indeed.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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