Delhi 2 Dublin's hyper-global music brought together by serendipity
Dubbed one of Canada’s best live acts, the Vancouver-based music group Delhi 2 Dublin (D2D) are selling out show after show with their electric swagger.
It started as a one-time gig, a favour. In 2006, a local disco jockey with Beats Without Borders was asked to DJ the night as part of CelticFest Vancouver at the Venue. But the DJ, who's style was mainly Asian-electric underground, didn't have electronic Irish music. The festival's artistic director at the time, Doug Simpson, suggested he create some.
"The DJ knew me from another band, said, 'Hey, why don't you come down and take a listen to these tracks?' He sent them to me by email, asked if I could put a couple of minutes of vocals," lead vocalist of D2D Sanjay Seran said.
"It was nothing super rehearsed or anything, but it went off, and people loved it, and you knew right from the audience's reaction, and how it felt was really cool." Almost immediately, offers started to pour in and the group continued with smaller shows, like Commercial Drive Car-Free Day and Earth Day. So busy jamming, they woke up a year later to find that they were a solid Canadian music band.
"It all happened by demand, as opposed to us trying to make something happen," Seran said.
A fusion of Bhangra to celtic, their sound is best described as "Indian-Irish live electronica with heavy reggae-dub influence...plus everything in between."
And the band name came naturally.
"The name of that first night was called, "Delhi 2 Dublin," and when we took it on, we just kept saying, 'We're doing Delhi 2 Dublin set,' and it just kind of stuck," he explained.
The Richmond-born Seran said that he always knew that he needed to do something.
"I just knew ever since I was young that I was gonna do something that was 'special.' I had this feeling. I never knew where it was gonna come from," Seran said. But that feeling wouldn't come from a UBC degree or six years of working at the bank.
"I didn't really like it," Seran admitted.
It was different with music. Even as an 18-year-old kid who used to sing in vocal jazz and choir, he never thought that he would one day become a singer. Until one day.
"I formed a band with a buddy of mine, I was about 19 or 20, even then I was like, 'Yeah, I wanna do this, I wanna do this,' but I didn't know where it was gonna really lead me to," Seran said.
D2D have been on tour all summer. They had another sold out show at Commodore in May, and even performed on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, in front of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
"They were practically sitting 20, 30 feet from us on these chairs facing the audience, so it was like they were on stage, so when we were actually performing, we didn't see them, but when we turned left, we saw them," Seran said.
"It was a pretty exciting show for us to play," Seran said. "We've done Canada Day once before in 2007 in Ottawa, so we knew what to exect, but this was bigger for sure."
Still, the ever-busy Sanjay Seran, Ravi Binning, Tarun Nayar, Andrew Kim and two violonists Jaron Freeman-Fox and Sara Fitzpatrick, which make up the Dublin crew, have more shows to check-off their tour list. They leave for Dublin today. They're going to England and Ireland for five days, and then they're off to Seattle and Whistler, until, finally, a performance at the PNE on September 3. With no specific performance attire, the Canadian dance-music band will "rock whatever [they're] feeling at the time."
"We have some guests coming up with us, so it's definitley a bigger production than our normal show would be; it's local, and we have the ability to bring our friends on. We've got some extra musicians, a bigger element to the show."
And the same goes for their album tracks. An eclectic mix of producers lend their sounds to Dublin five. For example, their most recent album "Planet: Electrified," is a remix album of "Planet: Electric," with one new song. "It's like other producers have taken it to make it more electric, more dancy," Seran explained.
"We get a different flavour by adding these different electronic producers, buddies of ours we met along the way."
Delhi 2 Dublin performs live at the PNE on September 3. Click here for details.