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Delhi 2 Dublin return to Whistler

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

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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.

"There's no hard fast rule saying this is what we do," he said. "Because everything is so open, we have the ability to go anywhere we want with the tracks."

It took two years to finish Planet Electric but the band wrote constantly throughout that time, working the ideas out onstage.

"That way we get to know whether the audience likes it or not and what we need to change. It gives us time to develop the track, so when it's time to record the track it's pretty much all there."

It's kind of like how the band came together in the first place, for a one-off performance at CelticFest Vancouver in 2006 at a nightclub called Delhi to Dublin (and hence the band's name). They were all involved in other musical projects at the time, but once the set was finished and the applause was deafening, Delhi 2 Dublin knew they had something special together. It's like a clichéd Hollywood moment but that's how it happened. The crowd dug it. The band dug it. Kim joined the band shortly afterward, filling in on guitar and sitar. The weird instruments simply blended; nothing was forced. The songs formed organically and that's how it happened.

"We just started getting bookings and it was really weird," Seran said. "It came to a point, a year later, when it was like, 'Shit man, I think we're in a band, we need to put an album out.'"

So they did, and they put out a second one. They toured a bunch. They sold out some shows and they bombed a few. They rocked Whistler during the Olympics - which Seran said was cool, not a highlight or anything but, y'know, an experience.

And they'll be back on July 3 and they're likely to rock it again.

 

Party music for the long weekend

 

For the huffing and moaning that went on over Whistler's $96,000 Canada Day bash, you're likely to think It better be worth it .

Well, maybe, maybe not but at least there'll be live music to soundtrack your disdain. Here's a breakdown of the free Canada Day weekend concerts.

July 1 (Rebagliati Park)

7:30-8 p.m. John Bottomley

8-8:30 p.m. Dana-Marie

8:30-9 p.m. Dr. Dave

9-9:30 p.m. Jon Shrier

An outdoor screening of the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory will follow the music. Fireworks start at 10:15.

July 2 (Village Square)

3-5 p.m. Chilliwack

July 3 (Village Square)

3-5 p.m. Delhi 2 Dublin.