It’s no accident that Delhi 2 Dublin (also known as D2D) are being requested at more music festivals across the world. Their music transcends different genres of music. Some people call it a fusion of Celtic and Bhangra sounds and one observer of their performance even called it “Celtic Reggae”. But as I discovered talking to lead singer, Sanjay, at the 2013 Edmonton Folk Festival, their music isn’t meant to be contained into one genre, and maybe that’s the reason why many people refer to it in different ways. D2D creates a sound that is exactly what music should be – enjoyable and an opportunity to forget yourself in the moment while listening to D2D’s beats.
When you were young, did you imagine you’d be touring the world as a musician when you grew up? I never imagined I’d be a musician as a kid. But, I had a feeling – that started around grade 9 or 10 – that there was something that I needed to do. Then, I went through university and played the dohl and did music on the side. I have always been about singing.
Does cultural heritage inspire your music more or less than representing yourself as an individual artist/musician? The cultural side comes out a little more because it’s easier to accept – there’s a lot to reference to with it. The artistic side comes out a lot differently because there’s nothing to refer to. You know, I listen to a lot of Kid Cudi and Lana Del Ray, and I’d love to express myself the way that they do, but when I go that way, I feel a bit shy. But going back to the issue of cultural heritage, yes, the artistic side gets pushed back because it’s more comfortable to be cultural. Ideally, you’d be “artistically cultural”.
Some people call your sound “fusion”, others “world”, but what do you call D2D’s sound? I don’t call it anything really. [To people who need to label it] call it whatever you want if it means something to you. It’s us. It’s Canadian music brought together by people from across Canada, who ended up together in Vancouver, and who enjoy electronic and cultural music.
Your music plays with so many different sounds that move past world music in a way. Sometimes, I think it’s easy to see world music as being deeply rooted in tradition… as always being the same and not evolving. But every generation with their interests, makes sure it evolves. That’s the thing. Tradition has to have some kind of meaning for it to last. Anything done without meaning doesn’t mean a thing. Hopefully, [as an artist working with a tradition] you’re making things that resonate with you and then you hold on to it. That’s something that D2D works to do with the music we make.
Speaking of the value of different cultural traditions, I know you’ve performed in Ireland – how did the audience there respond to your music? In Ireland, we played to a small crowd and everyone liked it. Europe is way more ahead in their sound.
You haven’t been to India yet. Are you planning to go soon? We’re making plans to go this September. In India, I think they’re going to love it! India has a lot of fans of electronic and party music. Also, Bhangra is still very popular…. So I think it’ll go really well – it has [our music] all the elements that people [in India] love.
You have so much energy on stage and the connection with your audience is great! I saw a video, where you sent out a canoe with someone in it to go “paddle surfing” through the audience. How did you come up with that idea? [Laughs.] It was for a show we played in Vancouver. That was T’s idea [Tarun is an electronic and tabla player and back-up vocalist in D2D]. T really wanted to put out a canoe – and you see canoes all around Vancouver all the time – and he also hadn’t seen anyone do that before.
Do you have any other memorable connections between D2D and an audience or fan? Yeah, we have some really cool fans that have even become friends. In Northern California we have friends that started out as a posse that would come out to see us when we would perform there. This doesn’t happen all the time. There’s also a connection with the audience that we’re putting out there. It hard to really explain…but you can feel it on stage, where you’re feeding off of the audience’s energy and the audience is also responding to what you’re putting out there. We respect them [the audience] just as much as they respect us.
So what’s next for D2D? We’re working on a collaboration with the Funk Hunters [an electronic Canadian DJ duo] – we don’t know what that’s going to end up being like. It could be an EP or it could even be a mini-documentary. We’re also going to do some fests in the UK. What we’re focusing on now is really to continue developing our sound.
Check out more of D2D’s music on their website: www.delhi2dublin.com
Interview By Becky Hagan-Egyir
Photos credit: VSM Photo