a unique eight-piece band
When what you think, what you do, and what you say are in harmony, the world can’t help but listen.
Especially if those messages flow from twin singers with angelic voices. For socially conscious folk-rock band VansGuard, aligning spirituality, familial bonds, humanitarian and ecological concerns, and fine songcraft is a rallying call for a global paradigm shift.
“There is so much happening in the world today that it would be a crying shame not to utilize our talents to bring light and awareness to what’s going on,” says vocalist DeleVan DellErba. “We don’t play music for ourselves, we play for the world.” Her identical twin sister, vocalist SanSkritA, adds: “Our music stirs passion, lifts souls, touches hearts, and awakens senses.”
VansGuard’s rich sonic tapestry evokes a variety of traditions, including 1960s and 1970s folk, classic rock, 1990s singer-songwriter artists and modern adult contemporary. Though the Arizona-based group has garnered favorable comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, Natalie Merchant, and The Cranberries, their artistry is unprecedented.
At the center of the band are the golden harmonies of identical twins DeleVan and SanSkritA DellErba. The interlacing of their harmonies and counterpoint melodies is so natural and nuanced it can only have been forged by a birth connection. The heartbeat of the band is supplied by the twins’ brother Amadon. His mastery of tribal beats, percussive touches, and emotional intuition for dynamics furthers his role far beyond keeping time and groove — he's an orchestra of rhythm.
Though there is a bloodline coursing through VansGuard, there is still a familial bond within extended band ranks. Some members are married, and others are close family friends. The band has a fluid membership with contributors from around the country. But the core of the group is based in Tubac, Arizona. The official band lineup is DeleVan DellErba, lead vocals, guitar, keyboard; SanSkritA DellErba, lead vocals, guitar, mandolin; Amadon DellErba, drums; Kaileen Fitzpatrick, bass; TaliSeen JahRing, keyboard, mandolin; Santee Lilly, electric guitar; Lafar Harding, trumpet, percussion; and Tarus Baldeschi, saxophone.
VansGuard’s musicality stretches from boldly vulnerable balladry to invigorating rock. Identical twins DeleVan and SanSkritA write the songs and the lyrics. Each composition brims with enlightenment, poignancy, and poetry. With their distinct emotional flair, the twins manage to write pointed commentary couched in social commentary, environmental activism and sustainability, universal spiritual epiphanies, and politics. These heartfelt sentiments and hard truths flow with grace and power. The twins are master melodic craftspeople steeped in the transformative tradition of Celtic vocal music and contemporary emotive pop.
The name VansGuard is a tribute to a spiritual warrior (the group is Van’s guard), and it affirms their strong commitment to their ideals — the vanguard is the frontline of an advancing military. VansGuard truly live their ideals. “When you speak the truth and dedicate your life to activism, you are on front lines,” says SanSkritA. “Sometimes you’re not liked, but we are willing to say what needs to be said no matter what.”
VansGuard is part of the Global Change Music nonprofit record label. They reside in an EcoVillage, where they dedicate their lives to outreach initiatives like rehab programs and homeless services. All members of the band have impressive professional credentials across disciplines and industries and donate their time as agents of change. As a band, and as individuals outside the band context, they’re associated with organizations focused on the Syria crisis and non-GMO activism, among many other causes. The band also has donated its services to many activist events.
“It’s a lifestyle outside the mainstream that’s organized and stresses an organic way of living that extends to raw foods and not polluting our music with processed things like auto-tuning,” Amadon says. “We grew up in this culture and it’s our life.”
The DellErba siblings, DeleVan, SanSkritA, and Amadon, were raised under the sensitive musical tutelage of their father who sagely guided their innate gifts. Their father, TaliasVan, a master singer/songwriter in his own right, provided bedrock musical lessons without imposing his tastes on their own burgeoning aesthetic. As young children, the twins were harmonizing with sophistication and Amadon was honing his rhythmic gifts. Back then they had a family band that performed at school and family functions. The trio began to fine-tune its talents through a disciplined practice regimen, soaking up the music of Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, The Cranberries, Jewel, among others. “The best advice my father gave was for us to stay away from ego trips. He told us that’s how bands break up — don’t’ be that way because you won’t get anywhere with your music,” Amadon reveals.
VansGuard is currently working on its follow-up to its critically acclaimed debut record. This new EP will incorporate fresh and unique instrumentation, harness the harmony prowess of other members in the group, and put forth piano as the dominant chordal instrument versus the guitar.
For the members of VansGuard, musical journeys are intrinsically tied to personal journeys. “The most meaningful thing has been watching everyone grow throughout the years. People get married, they have kids, the band ties just get stronger and deeper over time.” Amadon recalls: “When we recorded our debut album, DeleVan was pregnant and she gave birth shortly after the album was released. It felt like two beautiful things came into the world at the same time. The baby ended up coming to rehearsals with big headphones.” He pauses before concluding, saying: “A lot of people have to set aside music or set aside their career or their personal lives. We have it all, and it works together beautifully.”