Dara Korra’ti is otherwise known – in character – as Solarbird, the Lightbringer, leader of Crime and the Forces of Evil, a band of superheroes turned supervillains turned musicians. Heavy on what Toronto musician Heather Dale calls “a kick-ass attitude,” and bringing vocals New Zealand electronics artist Vostok Lake describes as “even more interesting than Joanna Newsom,” she is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who built her own recording studio to create her own music in the chaos following the Great Recession. No matter the form of music, the punk aesthetic is the best aesthetic: DIY or GTFO.

Dara, adjusting a Dalek

Dara came to music as an adult. After working professionally in radio, after publishing a couple of genetics research papers, after having shown her glass sculpture in galleries, and after been a software developer for a variety of companies including the Microsoft corporation, she was deciding what to do next and showing off one of the flutes she’d made when her friend and fellow musician Alexander James Adams said, “Dara, you need to be doing music.” Her response was something along the lines of, “You are so high,” but she tried it, and, well, maybe he was right. Move over, Buckaroo Banzai, move over, there’s a new adventurer scientist musician in town.

While the band has mostly remained a studio phenomenon, Dara has played solo shows from Cumberland, Vancouver Island, BC south to Redmond, Oregon, and travelled and performed as far east as Toronto, Ontario and Boston, Massachusetts. One time, she got brought up as a surprise addition by performers during Festival Mémoire et Racines in Joliette, Quebec, and she’s sung in chorus for both the Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

She’s also released two studio albums (Dick Tracy Must Die and Bone Walker), one live-in studio album (Cracksman Betty), and an assortment of singles. Once others heard her production work, she was brought in as recording engineer for Seattle-band Leannan Sidhe’s second album Mine to Love. She now tours with that group as well as her own. Dara also has a voice-acting credit on the HeyLasFas! album Destiny: A Tale Of Unicorn Wings.

Along the way, she found time to create and run the Cascadian geekmusic festival nwcMUSIC, as part of the Norwescon science fiction convention. Having just handed that off to a new group of managers, her plans for 2015 include additional touring now that 2015’s Bone Walker has been released, and work her third studio album, Din of Thieves.