By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – What happens when you slam together all of the most visceral dance music you can find? You get Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin, a world-binding fusion of Bhangra, hip-hop, Celtic reels, and electronic. That’s exactly the kind of spicy Canadian Masala that the five-piece have been serving up since the group’s inception at the Vancouver Folk Festival over a decade ago. Following that fateful meeting, tabla player and beat wizard Tarun Nayar, dhol/dholak virtuoso Ravi Binning, and vocalist Sanjay Seran, have been steady churning out groove-filled albums, including the bombastic ‘We’re All Desi’ (2015), and bringing electro-clash dance parties to festivals around the globe.
“The whole ‘Where do we fit in?’ thing has been really hard for us,” says vocalist and lyricist Sanjay Seran.
“It’s a blessing and a curse. We fit everywhere, so we’re able to take a lot of gigs and we’re always booked. And, we’re grateful for that, but the curse is not fitting here, there, nor anywhere. It’s a constant battle. We’re coming up on 12 years as a band in March and the core of the band is still together and getting along.”
The same identity crisis that makes their offerings so unique as feeds back into the band’s own internal culture.
“We’ve done a lot of self-reflection and soul-searching about the confusion of being born in Richmond,” Seran continues.
“It’s a pretty affluent suburb of Vancouver, which means I grew up pretty sheltered, yet I grew up as a Brown kid born there. I didn’t experience a lot of racism, but most of it had to do with the embarrassment of hiding my culture – from the smell of the cooking, to the clothing. So, you’re walking through life, trying to figure out who you are.”
The journey of unraveling that age-old mystery has revealed some important truths to Delhi 2 Dublin. And while their mid-career identity crisis is not entirely resolved, the turntable-and-tabla outfit has emerged from the conversation with a renewed sense of purpose.
“We do have a lot brewing under the hood. We’re hard at work on writing a new album right now and we’re stoked. We’re scrambling like mad to get a single ready to drop in February, but otherwise we’re working on trying to get the best songs we can,” says Seran, who welcomed violinist Serena Eades into the trio’s touring compliment.
“Lately, we’ve been honing in on the idea of ‘Sub-continental Pop.’ Delhi 2 Dublin really resonates with this. We spent a bunch of time talking about and I feel like we’re more focused than ever.
Finally, we feel like we fit into this weird world we’ve been juggling. Everything’s getting better and better. Maybe we were ahead of our time. I will reflect on that.”
Delhi 2 Dublin perform at Block Heater on February 16 (Calgary).Bhangra, Block Heater, Celtic reels, dance music, Delhi 2 Dublin, electronic, hip hop