A&E » Arts

Delhi 2 Dublin return to Whistler

Band a melting pot of instruments and sounds appropriate for Canada Day weekend



Who: Delhi 2 Dublin

Where: Village Square

When: July 3, 3 p.m.

They may be called Delhi 2 Dublin but the band's vocalist, Sanjay Seran, says the name is a mere fragment of the cultural influences making up their sound. The Vancouver-based quintet skip between a dozen musical styles on record and in concert and Seran says it's all just a reflection of their hometown's multiculturalism.

"The music wouldn't exist if it weren't from there (Vancouver)," he says. "The music should be influenced by all those (cultures) because those are the types of people that are here."

With Canada's Melting Pot at a full boil, Vancouver's a hotbed for diverse musical ideas to mix and meld and where Seran says Delhi 2 Dublin is just one example of pop mainstream's appropriation of ethnic-influenced music in Canada.

Even if it's not, there's always Asia. Delhi 2 Dublin took part at the Music Matters conference in Hong Kong in early June. Executives from music labels all over the world were there and the band spent their time mingling with bigwigs. Getting to know them. Sizing them up and being sized up. It was there, playing a showcase for label executives in a crowded Hong Kong nightclub that Delhi 2 Dublin - with their high energy and the blend of ethnic instrumentation that their name implies - proved themselves potential hit-makers in the Asian market.

"Here (in North America) we're considered world music because we sing in different languages and use ethnic instrumentation," Seran said. "Take this out to Asia, it's no longer ethnic instrumentation, it's the norm."

Promoters liked what they heard and now there's talk of D2D touring India.

But Seran says while they may have an easier time finding an audience on that side of the Pacific, that doesn't mean they're playing to the dogs over here. They have a steady following in Northern California, he says; the band sold out the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver earlier this year; and the five-piece was an Olympic favourite in February, when they played in Whistler Village after the closing ceremonies.

Their second album, Planet Electric, released in May, plays like an appetizer plate of world music, ranging from electro-infused Bhangra to reggae to hip-hop infused with spacey production and frequent fiddle solos to bring the show back home. Back home to Dublin.

It's the work of five unique talents melding into what sounds like an Indian wedding party thrown by androids in the Celtic plains. All five members - Seran, Tarun Nayar, Kytami, Andrew Kim, Ravi Binning - bring expertise in instruments and diverse musical tastes together that, on paper, would seem not to work together at all: guitars and fiddles, turntables and a dhol (an Indian drum). Weaving European, American and Asian elements into something cohesive - and listenable - might seem arduous to some but Seran says otherwise.