Melissa Crabtree and Dayan Kai will be appearing on Thursday March 21 at 7:30 pm at the Red Door, St. John’s Church, Page Street Moruya. Tickets $20 at the door
Having just delighted the audience at the Cobargo Folk Festival, when it comes to the experiences of Melissa Crabtree and Dayan Kai, you’d think there would be a change of heart from the jubilant that a festival and being on the road touring brings for the circumstances of their trip to Australia and travelling to the Cobargo show were impossible to imagine.
Blind from birth, Dayan was refused a visa to travel to Australia unless he underwent a series of medical tests including x rays and blood tests, at his own expense. (Pre visa tests to prove what exactly???)
That was just the start. His home island of Maui didn’t house the correct machine to conduct the tests, so he had to fly, at his own expense, to another island where he could have the scans done. To make matters worse there were no connecting flights, so this had to be done in the most convoluted way imaginable, with Dayan accompanied by his partner Maya, because – did we mentioned he cannot see at all? – so obviously he cannot travel alone. Double the cost.
The life of the musician couldn’t be harder than what these guys are going through, and yet here they are, loving and living life as legendary balladeers. Arriving back home after he got the all clear on the scans, they were evicted from their house, where they home schools Dayan’s three kids. They had no luck at all finding a place to go with their ducks and chooks and collection of all the instruments Dayan has mastered (piano, guitar, mandolin, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and the list goes on…) as well as all the other elements of homey island life. After much persuasion the landlord agreed to let them stay until this month long Australian tour completes – but relief was yet to find them. Still waiting on his visa’s, the team missed out on booking all the sensibly priced tickets, and had to go with expensive international connections.
From there it was a down hill stumble across delayed flights, unplanned stopovers and broken down cars that left them stranded several thousand feet from the first gig, with the call going out across the Cobargo social networks for urgent help to pick them up. Somehow they got to the show in tact and on time, and with spirits so high you could hear their sounds drifting out across the wake of the festival, as velvety voices and slick solos hung their hooks up in the sky. In fact they delivered such a polished show that the audience didn’t even notice that Dayan is blind. And in true Australian spirit, the generous good folk of Cobargo pitched in with a bucket load of fundraising during the festival to help set things right.
Their memorable catchy tunes sing the good morning songs to welcome the ones who are born, filling all the aural spaces as they take you on a drive across the Mississippi. These are definitely the songs you’d want to to have as your soundtrack on that journey. Melissa Crabtree and Dayan Kai are touring Australia for a month, gradually picking up shows around the towns they are playing, leading in to Blue Mountains Music Festival and Yackandandah before they head back home.
VIDEO: Giving My Time Away- Dayan Kai and Melissa Crabtree