Snow falling on sitars: Delhi 2 Dublin bring down the house
Fusion is a risky, tenuous proposition. Consider cold fusion, the oft-referenced solution to so many of our energy woes. In case you hadn’t heard, it’s an apparently impossible to replicate process. No energy security for you!
More successful examples of unlikely fusings and musings have us enjoying the benefits of the radio alarm clock and cream cheese filled muffin. Or look at the plastics and synthetics we incorporate into our imperfect little bodies in order to make our gross humanity a little less objectionable. So much con-fusion. Fusion projects, like products and processes, are similarly fraught with danger at every turn; fusion cuisine, while it can be done well, has also been responsible for coupling banana with chicken in black bean sauce. Indeed, fusion food often indicates the involvement of harried restaurateurs fresh out of ideas. And ‘fusion music?’ Ripe for satire and critical guttings when done poorly, but equally deserving of accolades and awards when done well (Paul Simon, anyone?). “Fusic” (one of mine) can create chills either good or bad. Armed with these convictions, and a healthy dose of scepticism fused to a circulatory system full of Red Bull, I limped my way to the Sunday night Miners’ Hall performance of Delhi 2 Dublin, prepared to be judge, jury and executioner or prospective future band manager and groupie if they managed to impress. Sold out well in advance of show day, Delhi 2 Dublin’s culturo-mash-up sound and stage show represent a marked departure from typical Rossland Council for Arts and Culture supported acts. I was floored to see a dance floor cleared for local and visiting hoofers, an array of friends and acquaintances I’d never seen at a sit-down-and-keep-quiet arts council concert flooding the hardwood. Intriguing. Rossland’s own DJ RSK (Rupert Keiller) opened up with some tightly-knit beats as the Hall rapidly approached capacity. Sharon and Charlie Weider tended bar, the pace and tone for the night evident through skyrocketing beer sales. Yes, this night would require several beer runs. I took up residence at the back of the hall and firmly rooted myself to the spot in typical wallflower fashion, grafted myself to the wainscoting in keeping with the whole fusion theme. And then it was on. Delhi 2 Dublin took to the stage, the ensemble having originally assembled for a single club show in 2006, the eclectic electric mix of bhangra, reggae, celtic infused riffs and rhyming having now taken them throughout the festival circuit stateside, Canada wide and to Europe, too. But would it fly in Rossland? Steamshovels have been known to, but Delhi 2 Dublin? At the risk of not sounding PC, D2D’s sound could be likened to musical curried Col Cannon with a dose of Kimchi in the mix. How would Rosslanders react? Well, we can certainly ski here, but the first song Tarun, Sanjay, Andrew, Kytami and Ravi lavished upon the assembled crew suggested that either we didn’t have rhythm, or that early season conditioning sans ski legs might very well affect dance floor performance. Either that or we simply needed to warm up, suss out the situation, assess the field, and adapt our approach. By the second song, it was all good. Introductions had been made, and the comfort level approached that of two well-acquainted Rossland strays meeting by the dumpster: “Let’s be friends!” Yes, toe-tapping gave way to ACL rattling crazy-legging in no time. Flat land powder eights, schnoodling and stationary snow-ploughing mixed with a bit of skanking, rock steady bobbing, and I swear I saw someone bust out the cha-cha, dance moves diverse as the professed musical influences onstage. Delhi 2 Dublin worked the crowd as only seasoned performers can, navigating the sometime perilous rake stage with ease. Tarun slayed the tabla and manned the electronic inputs like a cyborg Zakir Hussain, while a kilted Andrew Kim worked the audience with his stand-uptar electric sitar. Ravi kept the beat in the dhol house, Sanjay leant his voice to the cause, and then there was Kytami… Ah, Kytami- of an indeterminate ethnicity. Her well-honed fiddle skills and name would suggest she is descended from some kind of ninja sword; not even her camouflage tank-top could conceal her hyper-competent, near martial artist fiddle-ability. Yep, many a lonesome Rossland male was instantly smitten. Something about a lady with a bow… Between sets, I cornered several R-Town music aficionados for their take as of the mid-point. Amec engineer and telly-master Pete Golden agreed the concert was better than a smelter shut down, stating that Delhi 2 Dublin’s first set “…blew my uptight mind.” And the second set was even better, D2D driving the mood in the room like ice-road truckers hauling petrochemical riches. Man they were great, and they had us pegged, too. Whether it was just obligatory showmanship or (as I suspect) genuine appreciation for the audience and our enthusiasm, the band had everyone onside by evening end. Ours was the last night of a five-week tour, and everyone involved, from band mate, to audience, to hoola-hoopers delivered. And for Delhi 2 Dublin- they may even have found a stunt-double in Dr. Lum, a stand-in for band member Andrew Kim should he ever need to be in two places at once. In summary- I was super impressed. It takes a lot to get me out dancing, and in this particular instance it didn’t even require a ridiculously attractive lady to drag me into the crowd by the hand. I busted a move like any Irish-Eastern-Bloc-Canadese mutt of a guy ought to, loving the fusion, making a fuss. Thanks to Delhi 2 Dublin for making it out to The Mountain Kingdom, and to Rossland Council for Arts and Culture for making it happen. No fuses were blown, and the connections made as tight as any welder could hope.