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Canada’s Dahov is the artist known as a “Celebrity Percussionist.” He has earned that title for his ability to use his drumming talents as a solo artist or collaborator to drive crowds of hundreds to the edge of riotous excitement. While the moniker of celebrity is used to describe his talent, it’s quite fitting that it also describes many of those who have approached him to share the stage and take part in their events (more about that later). Often a literal “one-man band”, Dahov has pushed his instrument, talent, and career into a visible position that is as unique and captivating as the man. Whether by himself, accompanied by tracks, a DJ, alongside his dancers, or behind a massive one of a kind light up drumset, he is always the focus of attention and often found at the center of the crowd itself (a trait that is a welcome by product afforded by the mobility of a percussionist). His signature instrument and sound is the derbake but he is adept on a wide variety of Middle Eastern, Latin, and African percussion instruments. While he is a dedicated musician who has practiced steadily since his youth, honing his craft…he is more of an entertainer…which explains is why he left the rock bands of his youth and his positioning behind the drumkit to move up front.

It was around the age of 7-8, age that Dahov’s parents bought him his first derbake. His mother would sing and Dahov would practice a beat to accompany her. She would also encourage him to bring the derbake to family gatherings. At the age of around 13, he was able to play the derbake and create songs and even follow along with existing songs. Dahov recalls, “I'll never forget the day where we went for a Christmas gathering at a hall and there was a live band playing. I obviously brought my derbake and one of the band members approached me and asked me to join them on stage. That day and the feeling I felt being on that stage was when I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I was 18 when I moved to Canada. It was tough for me as I had to leave all of my friends and life and start over. There is a big Armenian community in Montreal and there were many various gatherings organized by the community. It was a habit for me to carry my derbake. This habit continued in Montreal. I believe the derbake helped me created a new life here in Montreal, as that is the reason I met new people, friends and created a new home. These are just a few examples of what music has given to me.”

Photos courtesy of Ara Sassounian

Moving from Dubai to Canada at 18 to pursue a career would be a major life and cultural change for anyone. Dahov credits his family for always encouraging him to follow his passion and being positive and supportive of his dream. One of the factors which contributed so greatly to his success in Canada has been his staunch work ethic and professionalism. Avoiding the normal trappings and pitfalls of the entertainment industry and instead focusing on family and career has resulted in incredible leaps forward for this artist in just a few short years. He communicates, “To be a musician, you need talent, as without it, you would not be able to learn the instrument. At the end of the day, once you learn the instrument, it is passion and emotion that will drive you to be a better artist and learn new things. If you do not have emotion and love for something, your talent will not be enough to make you the best. When a singer sings a song that means a lot to them, it always grasps the audience. This is the same principal. In the end, passion and hard work beats natural talent". It’s this mantra that has led Dahov to share the stage with acclaimed American artists such as Jeremih, Mickey Singh, legendary Canadian DJ MC Mario, and others. His celebrity status in Canada sometimes results in somewhat odd pairings, as it did when he appeared at an event with reality TV star Vinny Guadagnino of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” To add excitement and entertainment value to a celebrity nightclub appearance, celebrity percussionist Dahov was enlisted by the event’s planner to bring his reputable energy to the evening. Montreal’s Club 1234 was wall to wall with 700 enthusiastic audience members. Dahov notes, “Pavan (The event coordinator) was very interested in having me play. We got in touch and he explained what he needed. I told him it would be best to have 3 bellydancers to make the event look more interesting, especially because the main attraction was a reality tv show star whose interest would definitely be sexy girls. The girls who performed with me at this show had already danced with me at other events. The fun thing about playing with bellydancers is that the derbake was originally made for that purpose, so the beats compliment the girls moves. Using the finger tips and sometimes hands, I can kind of communicate the movements and sound between my fingers and their body. The technique we used for this show was that the girls would approach me one by one, I would play for them and then they would move on and go towards Vinny, one after another. At one point, I gave the derbake to Vinny and the girls surrounded him, dancing around him! He wasn’t at ease playing the drum but he was having such a good time that he…and everyone else didn’t focus on that.”

Playing on his own, alongside chart topping artists from the US, with celebrity DJ’s, or just flat out celebrities that appear on TV, Dahov has proven that this drummer is no longer sitting at the back of the stage; he cannot be contained that way. Dahov has moved right up front to claim his well-earned and deserved spotlight alongside those who transfix and captivate an eager audience.

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