Not a lot of good came from Channel Ten’s failed reality talent quest, The X Factor. The series winner’s Random, had two forgettable singles and faded into oblivion. Mark Holden embarrassed himself further. But there was a shining light in the lacklustre affair. It introduced Australia to Kaya.
These unconventional stars, with bare feet, quirky songs, and unmistakable harmonies worked their way into the hearts of the voting public. Their music defied classification, blending jazz, soul, blues, pop, and folk. That was almost two years ago now, and Kaya have stepped away from the spotlight to further develop their craft.
Last night they took to the stage at Lizotte’s. It was my third time seeing Kaya at this wonderful venue, and once again they delivered the kind of show that keeps me coming back.
Kaya’s set showcased their original songs, many of them familiar now that I’ve seen the group so many times, others new to my ears. However, no matter how many times I’ve heard each song, it always feels like the first time. Their harmonies weave effortlessly, with playful improvisations adding to the fun. The quartet also breathed new life into cover versions of “Buffalo Soldier,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” and John Butler Trio’s “Zebra.”
Unlike many modern acts, Kaya are truly a vocal group. The mellow tones of an acoustic guitar, drum brushes, and a spot of beat boxing accompanied a handful of tracks, but their voices are always the center. Many songs are fearlessly performed a capella, with the girls gaining strength from one another.
Individually, the talents of Alexandra Kaye, Juleiaah Boehm, Sally Stevens, and Emma Deans are fantastic. Together, they are truly sensational.