Omao resident Kathleen Dahill has been writing songs since her early teens and this weekend music lovers will have the opportunity to hear some of her music at a flood-relief concert.
“This is my way of saying ‘thank you’ for allowing me to participate in this community, for allowing me to share my music and my skills,” she said.
Dahill has written more than 800 songs. They usually come to her in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep.
“I hear the music first and these songs come to me. I sit, I listen and write it down. They come from a spiritual place. These songs are gifts,” she said.
Every song Dahill writes tells a story.
“I don’t ever sit down with the intention that I’m going to write a song. They just come to me. I’m very blessed because they’ve been coming nonstop,’ she said.
Originally from the East Coast, Dahill said she’s had a fascination with Hawaii since she was a little girl and has always wanted to live here.
A couple of years before the 2009 financial crises, her husband was working in corporate America, but when things started getting slow, he left. The couple ended up having to sell their home to get out from underneath their mortgage.
To get away from the stress of the situation, Dahill and her husband decided they’d take a trip to Kauai for 10 days.
While on Kauai, they met a group of kupuna in Anahola, who told them they should move to Kauai permanently.
That meeting changed their lives, so they returned home and sold almost all of their belongings in order to make the move.
“We sold everything in our home, except our computers, my piano, one box of belongings. We got rid of practically everything. We left that Western life because of the elders we met in Anahola who said we should come live here,” Dahill said.
They came to Kauai totally cold, she said.
Life on Kauai hasn’t always been easy for Dahill and her husband. They are still working on creating income for themselves because it’s a difficult place to find work, she said.
“We keep getting little jobs here where we get little chunks of money to pay the bills,” she said.
Though she’s written so many songs throughout her life, Dahill said she doesn’t think of herself as a musician.
“It’s a healing experience. I think of myself as a sound healer in the community,” she said.
She continued: “The concert is our way of connecting with the community because what happens in one part of the community affects us all.”
Throughout the years, Dahill said she’s done some arrangements for Kauai Voices, where she met Liz Hahn and Deborah Baumung, who will be performing with her this weekend. Kamele Woodward is also performing with the group.
For years they’ve been talking about their desire to sing more, and decided to collaborate for this concert.
They’d been talking about making it happen before the flood, and then when it happened they decided to make it a relief concert.
Though the flood was a natural event, it was like a bomb went off on the North Shore.
“We have people who are emotionally struggling. They’ll need long-term support. It’s like a war zone. I want them to know that they’re in our thoughts and prayers,” she said.
The concerts are at St. Michael & All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Lihue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. A CD will soon be available, with proceeds going toward flood relief efforts.
Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.