Wednesday, September 16, 2009

5 Questions with Dala

*All photos courtesy of Dala

An emerging sound on the Canadian music scene, Dala is one of the most talented singer/songwriter teams I've seen perform live. Otherwise known as Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther, Dala had me hooked right away with their beautiful harmonies, so I wondered how they stay healthy and performance-ready while essentially living on the road. The women of Dala agreed to answer 5 questions about their relationship to food as touring musicians:

After the Harvest (ATH): Have you found it difficult to eat whole, nutritious foods while on the road? How do you avoid fast food?

Dala: It is definitely a challenge to maintain a balanced diet when you're touring. Meal times are all pushed back. The schedule on the road is such that your day starts at noon, sound check is later in the afternoon, and the show itself usually interferes with dinner. A lot of the time we are too nervous to eat before we go on stage, but the adrenaline rush of performing leaves us ravenously hungry after the show.

That's the moment of truth for most performers I think, where your will-power is tested. On our first tour opening for Tom Cochrane it took a while before we realized that we were filling up on salty snacks after almost every show. It was part of the post-show celebrations, but that starts to adds up on a three week tour. We have learned to ‘just say no’ to junk food whenever we can, and to eat lots of fruits and vegetables when we feel like snacking.

Amanda with some very large fruit

ATH: Do you have any special beverages that serve as "Dala magic elixirs" to keep those beautiful voices fresh?

Dala: We drink a lot of tea and honey on the road. My personal favourite is TAZO Green Ginger tea. Amanda starts drinking hot water an hour before the show. We both drink twice as much water as we would when we’re not on tour, and we also bring mini-humidifiers with us for the hotel. That makes a difference, as hotel rooms tend to be pretty dry.

ATH: What is the one food you could not go without on the road?

Dala: I love soup. It is so cozy and comforting and light on your stomach. Amanda likes fruit, granola and yogurt in the morning. That’s her staple. We both love to sample local cuisine. Amanda usually dives into the less-healthy department (ie. Halifax’s 'Donairs' and Memphis’ 'Rendez-Vous Ribs')

Sheila and her cappuccino, dreaming of soup

ATH: Do you have time to check out farmers' markets or local foods in the different cities you visit while on tour? If not, do you have any favourite restaurants in any specific cities?

Dala: When we were in Fredericton on the Matthew Good tour we were staying across the road from a great Saturday farmer’s market. It was amazing to wander through the stalls and see all the fresh fruit and veggies. You also get a sense of the community, which is a treat when you're on a whirlwind tour.

ATH: Any favourite recipes you wish to share with the readers?

Amanda’s Homemade Almond Granola


-3 cups of rolled oats (preferably not instant oats)
-1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds (or whole, according to preference)
-3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
-1/4 cup flax meal
-1 cup of hot, melted honey

* Feel free to be creative with the ingredients. Every batch can be different. Add any other nuts, seeds or grains to taste. For raisins, cranberries and other fruits, add after the granola has baked and cooled.


1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients
3. Slowly add hot honey while mixing thoroughly 4. Spread thinly ( 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) onto a lightly greased (with olive oil) cookie sheet
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown
6. Remove from oven:
a)For crunchy granola, allow to cool completely before removing from pan
b) For soft granola, remove while still warm

Makes two batches

If you haven't yet heard the singing/songwriting talents of Dala, take a listen here, or you can check them out on video here. My current favourite song is their heartbreakingly sad and hauntingly beautiful ballad, Horses.

Many thanks to Sheila and Amanda for sharing their talents, their time and their thoughts on food!


  1. great interview - looking forward to making some of that granola!

  2. Ditto to Wendy - I love this profile idea. Great work Heather.