“Kater’s music is somehow ancient and brand new at the same time.”
-Tom Power, CBC Radio 2
Roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two musical worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia. Kater’s acclaimed debut album Sorrow Bound (2015) touched on this divide, but her most recent album, Nine Pin (2016), delves even further, and casts an unflinching eye at the realities faced by people of colour in North America every day. Her songs are fueled by her rich low tenor vocals, jazz-influenced instrumentation, and beautifully understated banjo, and they’ve got as much in common with Kendrick Lamar right now as they do with Pete Seeger. Kaia Kater’s music is powerful and woke. Social and cultural experiences are central to Kater’s work, and she addresses prominent community movements like the Black Lives Matter in her songs, as well as more personal narratives speaking to life and love in the digital age. Representing an aware and in-tune perspective, Kater layers on the beauty of her sounds with her artful, skilled musicianship. Her old-time Appalachian stylings blend tradition with innovation for a result that is raw, real, and unique. An exceptional songwriter with wisdom and talent well beyond her years. Kaia Kater’s somber, emotive voice and songwriting are reminiscent of Gillian Welch’s old school balladry. The deep and beautiful blend of Kater’s banjo and rich voice supported by bass and muted trumpet is mesmerizing, and her live performances equally so. Experience the formidable talent of Kaia Kater at this year’s DCMF.