Alo Wala – The light vendors30.06.2015
“Alo Wala” comes from the family name of the singer Shivani Ahlowalia. Alo Wala means ”light vendor” in Bengali and that is exactly how the band perceives itself, as vendors of light and optimism.
“First and foremost we want to make people dance. However, the music is subliminally laced with lyrics and intentions to encourage people to approach life from a place of optimism and light,” Shivani Ahlowalia says.
The Chicago-born singer has travelled the world both before and after she met the Norwegian DJ Åsmund Kverneland aka Copyflex. Their meeting was the start of Alo Wala, although it took quite a while for the band to find the form we know today. The first time Shivani met Copyflex she was a student in Denmark and had already planned to travel to Guinea Bissau in West Africa to found an NGO for local rappers.
Forced out of Guinea Bissau because of political circumstances she returned to Copenhagen and got in touch with Åsmund again. Together they began creating the music that now has become popular throughout the world. This Spring the band played showcases at Tallinn Music Week in Estonia, The Great Escape in England and MIDEM i France, and later this year they will be playing an official showcase at WOMEX in Budapest. Today the band has 4 members: Shivani, Åsmund plus Julius Sylvest og VJ Mad Es.
Listen to the band’s music HERE
Watch the “Cityboy” video – click on the image below
A platform for joy
The world loves Alo Wala and the love is reciprocated. That’s clear when asking Shivani Ahlowalia what inspires her.
“This planet and its inhabitants are my main source of inspiration. Musically speaking, I am inspired by 90’s pop culture, hip hop, R&B, Bass music, Juke, reggae, dancehall and Indian culture at large – from Bollywood to classical ragas. I have also spent a lot of time in West Africa and have been really motivated by the general attitude of people and the abundance of music there. Some artists that have moved me through time are: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Toumani Diabate, Michael Jackson, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley & more recently the Italian producer Clap Clap and UK bass music producers, Ivy Lab,” Shivani says.
The fact that the world has welcomed Alo Wala with open arms is not the only reason behind the band’s success. According to Shivani the main reason is people who believe in the project, “the bookers who have taken chances on us even before we made our first release; our management; the many institutions that support music development; our label; the festivals that stage us and the growing number of fans that enjoy the sound and spread the vibes”. That being said she also believe it is about the joy of music, “also our sound is happy. I think we are at a point in this orbit where people need to let loose and be happy, and the Alo Wala platform is rigged for that.”
On a another note, “Aloo” in Hindi means potato, so in Hindi Alo Wala can often be misconstrued as “Potato Vendor” or “Potato Person” which makes for good laughs when the band visits India.