Harmony At Home: Multitalented Darden Siblings Stand Out by Blending Their Voices

The Darden Sisters at Back Alley Bar in Fullerton. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

 

With polished covers of classics such as “You’re So Vain,” “Wild World,” and “Ring of Fire,” the Fullerton band known as Darden has woven itself into the fabric of O.C.’s music scene, gigging at Muckenthaler Cultural Center, the Anaheim Packing House, and the Back Alley Bar and Grill in its hometown. The sisters—Selah, violin; Clarah, guitar; Havilah, mandolin; and Tabithah, bass—are releasing a collection of original songs on SoundCloud this month. Here, Selah and Clarah discuss their musical family.

They spent the early 2000s touring the country in an RV as a family.
Clarah: Our parents used to sing together in church, and then they had this crazy idea: They thought we all (two brothers included) should start traveling and singing. We’d have our itinerary of different churches that we’d sing at, and we’d visit scenic spots along the way. There are a lot of memories that are really, really cool. We did that for about six years. As sisters, we branched off 11 or 12 years ago into our own little band.

Being on the road brought them closer together.
Selah: I would say growing up that way, we are very different from most families because we have something in common. We shared everything, and we learned to live very simply. Even now, I’m happy with very little because of that. I see it as a gift. Just having very little, playing outside, seeing this beautiful country. It was not glamorous, but it was a great childhood.

They credit their community with contributing to their artistic growth.
Selah: We grew up in Orange County, and we’ve been surrounded by this wonderful art community and people who would ask us to sing, even when we were small and weren’t really that great yet. We were still learning. And they’d still have us for their luncheons and for their city events, just to sing maybe the national anthem. The community raised us up to be the artists we are today.

They’re inspired by their grandfather Joe Tatar, a local vaudeville-style pianist. 
Selah: Since my mom was small, he’s made his way as a full-time musician. He was like, “You guys can go to school, and you can be musicians, too. You can make this work.” Having that example was so important for our art.

The band’s sibling vocal harmonies are a signature.
Clarah: I think with us, people always go back to the harmonies. That’s something we like to keep in there, the three- to four-part harmonies in essentially every song. You don’t hear a lot of that nowadays, and that’s something we’ve done our whole lives. We go back to it all the time. Another thing that plays into it is we traveled as a family, so we got a lot of culture and experience from other places. That all plays into our sound.

Their new original material might surprise longtime fans.
Selah: It’s definitely more pop than we’ve ever been. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s evolving just like we are. The songs that we’ve (been writing) for years that nobody’s heard yet have evolved into something cool and funky and different. We’re trying to make great music, whatever that’s going to look like.

See them perform some of their music on their YouTube channel.

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