kaia kater

New Soul of Traditional Mountain Music

Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two 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.

Her acclaimed debut album Sorrow Bound (May 2015) touched on this divide, but her new album, Nine Pin (May 2016), delves even further, and casts an unflinching eye at the realities faced by people of color in North America every day. Her songs on the album 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. Kater will return to the studio this fall to release a new album in early 2018.

As Kater explains: "Toni Morrison once said: ‘If there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.’ Music and poetry are the languages I speak. Any time I travel, words come walking back with me. They have souls and histories. They create me and I create them."





Top News

the scuttlebutt

Twenty-three-year-old Kaia Kater from Québec studied mountain music in West Virginia and writes songs from the here and now. Her second album manages to triangulate bluegrass, Nina Simone, and Toni Morrison.
— Neil Spencer, The Guardian
Kater has made one of the most daring, inventive traditional records in recent years, at a time when Appalachian music is experiencing a revival.
— Jonathan, Bernstein, American Songwriter Magazine
Her newest album is Nine Pin and it’s an exercise in power of simplicity. While there are other musicians dotting the album with everything from trumpet to electric guitar, the strength comes from Kater: the low, deep emotion in her voice and the contrasting twang of her banjo.
— JamBase
Kater is one of the most exciting roots musicians to come along in years.
— Garden & Gun
...Kater’s music is somehow ancient and brand new at the same time.
— Tom Power, CBC Radio 2
...plaintive, mesmerizing...writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran...
— Rolling Stone
Nine Pin is unlike anything you’ll hear this year.
— Rachel Cholst, No Depression
You want some authenticity in your folk music or bluegrass - I give you Kaia Kater.
— John Apice, No Depression
Sorrow Bound is a remarkably assured debut album which both honors tradition and declared Kater’s credentials as a distinctive, original artist.
— Steve Hunt, fRoots Magazine UK
I have just seen the Ola Belle Reed of the 21st Century.
— Art Menius, No Depression/The ArtsCentre, Carrboro, NC

upcoming appearances