The Blue Dahlia ~ Dahlia Dumont
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The Blue Dahlia ~ Dahlia Dumont

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band World Reggae




"Dahlia Dumont On The Journey Of A Chanteuse With Her Band, The Blue Dahlia"

Dahlia Dumont is sitting cross-legged on the grass at J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope. While she discusses her musical background and her band’s upcoming album release, her eyes dart to the left. She’s keeping a watchful eye on her 8-year-old daughter, Ayo, who’s playing quietly a few yards away. This is one of their local stomping grounds, as Ayo attends school at nearby P.S. 133.

Such is the multi-tasking life of this up-and-coming chanteuse.

Dumont was raised in Marine Park and Midwood but spent time in Senegal and France before returning to Brooklyn and setting up camp in South Slope. Her band, The Blue Dahlia, is weeks away from launching their eponymously named album and beginning a European tour. Dumont plays with The Blue Dahlia and her smaller Trio du Monde many times a week in local venues throughout New York and, particularly, South Slope.

Dumont’s musical style is challenging to categorize, which makes her music that much more intriguing. She draws her influences from around the globe, including Parisian cabaret, reggae, ska, Colombian and Mexican cumbia, and tango. Dumont sings in both French and English.

Her band members are as diverse as the sounds you’ll hear on their new album. Bass player Yoshiki Yamada hails from Japan, South Texan George Sáenz plays accordion and trombone, guitarist Diego Cebollero is from Argentina, the drummer is Californian Chris Hansen, and, of course, singer/ukulele player Dumont is our Brooklyn local.

The diversity makes for a unique sound. South Slope resident and musician Tim Daoust has seen The Blue Dahlia and Trio du Monde perform in different venues around the neighborhood. “Dahlia’s music is charmingly French with a uniquely modern feel that can feel simultaneously fresh and vintage,” he tells us. “It’s the perfect mix, just enough of the reggae rhythms, just enough of the allure of the accordion and Dahlia’s lilting and somehow also boisterous voice bringing it all together.”

In advance of the new album, we asked Dumont to share some background about the band, her world travels, and her Brooklyn roots.

Dahlia Dumont and George Sáenz in performance. (Photo courtesy of Dahlia Dumont)
Dahlia Dumont and George Sáenz in performance. (Photo courtesy of Dahlia Dumont)
SSN: What originally led you to Senegal?

Dahlia Dumont: I’ve always had a passion for travel. I studied there with the School for International Training and was exposed to the French language. Between Senegal and France, French became my adopted second language. Francophone culture and the sound of the language is a large part of what has influenced the band’s style.

What brought you back to Brooklyn?

After I gave birth to my daughter, I wanted to be closer to my family. There was stress involved with the move. I was in a relationship at the time where music became a wedge between us. My transition into a music career became a source of tension. But Brooklyn is my home, and my daughter loves it here. I began working as a school nurse with children who have developmental delays.

What about your native Brooklyn background? Has that provided an influence for your music as well?

Definitely. My family’s roots are both Eastern European and Middle Eastern. Those sounds make their way into our music. Our music reflects the diversity of the borough. We are interested in fusion, and that has been part of my upbringing.

Tell us a bit about how you got this band started.

We began in 2012. I saw George Sáenz playing at Barbès here in Park Slope. George then introduced me to our drummer, Chris Hansen. We got together and recorded some demos. We played our first live show in April 2012 at The Fifth Estate. The band grew from there. It’s very important that each member bring in their own musical influences.

You perform in live venues throughout the city and in our neighborhoods quite often. You’ve been very successful getting so many gigs. Have there been any challenges?

We’ve had a lot of great opportunities to play in our area. In addition to The Fifth Estate, we’ve played at The Rock Shop, Olivier Bistro, and [the now defunct]Tea Lounge. We currently play a lot at Bar Chord in Ditmas Park.

We do cover songs, but it’s really important for us to play original music. We’ve actually lost gigs over playing way too many originals. We play a fusion of styles, and this has made it a bit harder to find a niche.

How’s the band celebrating its album release?

The album will be out later this month and we’ll begin our European tour on July 30. Some of our stops will be in Manchester, London, Berlin, and Paris. We’re also excited to come home and have our album release party at Barbès on October 8.

What’s your wish list for this band? How do you want it to evolve?

I’m not focused on fame and fortune at all. I want to be able to live comfortably, provide a great upbringing for my daughter, and be able to pay the band for their talent and dedication. My dream is for us to be self-sustaining.

Visit Dahlia Dumont’s website for more information on The Blue Dahlia’s new album, as well as details about their upcoming tour.

About the author: Donny Levit is a writer, stage director, and guitarist. Donny is a news junkie and has covered stories locally and in Buenos Aires. He’s now a Kensington resident, where he lives with his wife and son – not too far away from his family’s Flatbush roots. His new book, Rock n’ Roll Lies, will be coming out this fall. He’d love to hear about your story ideas. You can contact him at and visit - Donny Levit

"Interview: Five Minutes with The Blue Dahlia"

Dahlia Dumont, or The Blue Dahlia, as she calls herself, is anything but one-dimensional. Hailing from the New York borough of Brooklyn, she’s spread her wings as far and wide as Senegal and France.

Her music, like her, is eclectic but at the same time strangely cohesive – a rollercoaster ride of moods and emotions that is always wonderfully evocative.

With her upcoming tour of the UK only a week away, I sat down with The Blue Dahlia to talk about her music, influences, and what we can expect from her shows.

Hi there Dahlia, thank you for your time. You have a very interesting and diverse background. Could you tell us about it?

I grew up in Brooklyn, with a mother from the Bronx and a father from Israel. I have always been in love with Brooklyn, the diversity, the new energy always mixing with the old, the quaintness of the tree-lined family neighborhoods, juxtaposed with the busy commerce and old architecture of downtown, the breezy calming feel at the oceanside, the hip and edgy corners full of young artists and professionals, and of course, the heavily ethnic neighborhoods where English is definitely not the first language. This upbringing heavily influenced the music I write today.

My interest in the cultural diversity of Brooklyn spilled over onto the rest of the world. My desire to travel to understand the different ways of the world started very young. As an Anthropology and French major in college, I studied abroad in Senegal and France, and then returned to live in France after college for several years. This is where my knowledge and admiration for the French language and francophone culture and music was born. Clearly this too greatly influences the music I am creating today, as I write and sing about half of my songs in French and with French stylistic undertones.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?

Because of this background of personal, musical and cultural diversity, I create music that is best described as a world music fusion. Fun or often nostalgic melodies or sung over groovy reggae rhythms, mixed with tango, ska, klezmer, and the more classical styles of chanson francaise. The lyrics, sung in French and in English, are often telling stories, that are at one moment full of imagery and allusions, and at the next, provocatively honest.

The instrumentation further enriches the music with it’s international sounds, using a button accordion, traditional in TexMex music, trombone, bass, ukulele, guitar, and drums.

You’ll be on tour in the UK as from July 30. Can you tell us a bit about how this tour came about?

I am finally finishing up my first major album, 3 years in the making. The is the pinnacle of a very long, difficult and expensive effort to live out my dream as a musician and songwriter. Since my music has such an international sound, and since I still have many friends and family members in Europe from my previous years living there, I decided to celebrate the release of the album by bringing the music to Europe. Though I am investing a lot to go over there, the opportunity to meet new musicians and network and share my music across the Atlantic where its creative ideas were first born just seemed like the thing I had to do right now.

What can we expect from your shows?

The music is super groovy, and at the same time, very sensual and through-provoking, between the honest words I sing and their expression that I like to enhance with my eyes and my whole body. You’ll want to dance, dream, close your eyes and sway. It’ll be like finding yourself at the grooviest reggae Edith Piaf concert from the 1930s.

You’ve allowed your fans to name their price when they download your album, The Blue Dahlia, from your website. Why this approach?

I am allowing them to download at their price because, though there is a minimum of 99 cents per single, if someone is moved enough or is in a financial situation that allows them more flexibility, they may choose to donate more. After all the album expenses, tour expenses, paying musicians, the list goes on and on, I could really use all the help I could get. So this leaves that option open.

What are your thoughts on music streaming sites?

On the one hand, I strongly dislike that musicians get practically no compensation from the music streamed online. At the same time, this allows for a great deal of exposure, which is needed in order to gain more fans, and in turn, give a higher monetary value to your music. I for one love listening to streaming music. I think this is becoming more and more common, and since exposure is my priority right now, I do plan on submitting my tunes to Spotify, Pandora, etc.

Can we expect more music from you anytime soon?

Things have been so hectic. In addition to this music project and the upcoming tour, I am a mother of one sweet little girl, a school nurse part-time, and a music teacher part-time. I have been gigging so frequently in New York as well. So, basically, I have not been writing as much music recently. Once I return from tour, I am looking forward to a break from the promo and booking work, etc. and to take some time to write new music.

If there’s anything else you wish to add, now’s the time!

Please do visit my webiste:, and get in touch with me. I am currently looking to receive more press, so I’m interested in meeting those who know a thing about that.

If you listen to some of my lyrics, you’ll see I have struggled much to be a musician, and still harbor a lot of anger towards some individuals that are close to me that have been very discouraging, to say the least. But I feel like I must do this. I truly believe that you only live once, and you never know how long that life will be, so you have to always be working on following your dreams, every day.

Catch The Blue Dahlia on tour in Europe on the following dates:

July 30: The Art of Tea, Didsbury – Manchester, UK

July 31: Hotel Pavilion, Didsbury Park – Manchester, UK

August 1: Jamboree – London, UK

August 4: The Good Ship – London, UK

August 7: Stoke by Napland Hotel, Gulf and Spa – Leavenheath, Colchester, UK

August 8: Horns and Hooves – Berlin, Germany

August 9: Prachtwerk – Berlin, Germany

August 10: Haus der Sinne – Berlin, Germany

August 12: The Kiosque at Square du Temple – Paris 3e, France

August 13: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France

August 14: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France

August 15: The Kiosque at Jardin Villemin – Paris 10e, France

August 16: The Kiosque at Parc Montsouris – Paris 14e, France

August 17: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France

August 18: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France

August 19: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France

August 19: FAREWELL SHOW – AbracadaBAR – Paris 19e, France - Andre Spiteri

"The Blue Dahlia Live at The Good Ship, London"

I have recently been really taken with The Blue Dahlia. Her eclectic mix of influences spans continents old and new whilst remaining strangely coherent and evocative. The music also manages to sound familiar whilst completely defying description – no mean feat in today’s world.

Knowing that her upcoming European tour included a number of London dates, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see her in action. So I made it a date, and one cool August evening I grabbed my Oyster and my summer jacket and made my way to The Good Ship in Kilburn.

The Good Ship is a relatively small but pretty cool venue. The dim interior and distressed furniture should look dingy, but somehow give the place a mellow and rustic charm which lends itself well to intimate sets. I also really like the layout. The stage is a sunken area overhung with stairs which create a sort of spectators’ gallery – all the better to take in all the action from above in minute detail.

The Tuesday crowd was pretty thin, at least to begin with, and didn’t seem particularly interested in the musical goings on. The two acts preceding The Blue Dahlia – Damien Black and Pete Piskov respectively – weren’t particularly crowd-pleasing or adept at engaging the audience, and at times the sound of beer and chit-chat seemed to drown them out.

The energy changed completely when The Blue Dahlia took the stage. Ukulele in hand and dressed from top to bottom in – you guessed it – bright blue, she confidently belted out her lyrics in French and English, sometimes at lightning-fast speed. The crowd, which had thickened and congregated around the stage, ate it up. Alistair Lion on drums and Daniele Borgato on bass were rock-solid, whilst Joe Francis on saxophone and George Saenz on accordion and trumpet added layers upon layers of nuance and dimension. The Good Ship was soon swaying to the beat, and The Blue Dahlia’s set was over in an instant.

It was a great night. The Blue Dahlia delivered the goods and turned an ordinary Tuesday evening into a night to remember. Next time round, make it a point and go check her out. - Andre Spiteri

"CD Review: Dahlia Dumont – Edith Piaf Comes To Brooklyn on a Reggae Bandwagon"

The second decade of the 21st century ushered in an unforeseen phenomenon: pretty young women with ukuleles. Those of us who were born in the 60s and 70s sure didn’t see this coming! And with such women who seek a serious professional career, they have a lot of preconceived ideas to get past. So, with as much of an open mind as I could muster (suppressing the subtle sexism I was programmed with in my native culture), I wondered what The Blue Daliah had to offer.

Dahlia Dumont assembled a very tight band for this CD (Dumont – ukulele, vocals; George Saenz – accordion, trombone, keyboard, acoustic guitar; Diego Cebollero – guitar; Yoshiki Yamada – bass; Chris Hansen – drums, percussion; and guests Hayden Gandolfi – cello; Gabriel Richards – vocals; Octavio Romano – guitar; TransLucent – MC; and ElaNEF – beatbox). The performances, production, and recording are all first rate.

Dumont composed and arranged all the music on this CD, except Charles Tenet‘s “QueReste t-il de Nos Amours” (with its tip of the hat to Django Rhinehardt). The songwriting is really interesting. Dumont’s French / Reggae / South American influences blend together nicely, and the songs give the band a great deal of potential to work off of. They switch styles as easily as an Italian sports car shifts gears.

Dumont is the focal point for all this. Her vocals are marvelous. Singing with equal fluency in English and French, her vocals have a passionate and eloquent way of not only conveying the intellectual meaning of the song, but also drawing the listener into Dumont’s inner world. The influence of Edith Piaf is obvious; and she makes it her own. There is no way to listen to her music without knowing that she really means every word she sings.

The CD seems to have the kind of energy and immediacy that a live performance would have. Dumont’s persona comes across as one of those women around whom people gather, and to whom all attention is centered. But this is not contrived or calculated; her charisma is natural and effortless. This is the inescapable impression and effect of her music. She’s the woman who, when a lively song is played, pulls you to the dance floor and makes you cut loose, calls you at 3 AM crying because she had a fight with her boyfriend, brings you homemade chicken soup when you’re sick with a cold, changes her hair style and color every other week, and adds life to every situation she’s in. I don’t know Dumont personally, nor have I ever met her, but this is the dramatic imagery her music leaves the listener with. - Dawoud Kringle

"Artist Review"

“With a strong personality, an exotic accent in her voice, Dahlia is a singer that you can't help but notice. A young talent who will pierce the scenes of modern, world and fusion music in the years to come. ” - Isabelle Russo


Album: 'The Blue Dahlia' - Released July 2015



Influenced by the years Dahlia lived in NYC, France and Senegal, as well as the international backgrounds of each band member, 'The Blue Dahlia' plays a vibrant mix world music - touching everything from French chanson to reggae and klezmer. The music uses accordions from France and Mexico, nostalgic violins, a soaring horn section, a grooving rhythm section, and last but not least, Dahlia's bright little ukulele.
The sound is organic, yet the energy is electric. The exoticism from the French and the different world rhythms blends with Dahlia's native New York edge. The delicate strength of Edith Piaf meets the naughty intelligence of Serge Gainsbourg, and the grooving rhythms of Alpha Blondy that pulse through you. Simply put, 'The Blue Dahlia' is a unique and fun international experience, made in Brooklyn.

Band Members