“…One of the most remarkable Canadian folk records in some time … Kater’s music is somehow ancient and brand new at the same time.” — Tom Power, CBC Radio 2


“You know me. Ain’t you seen me before?” Kaia Kater asks in “The Heavenly Track,” off her new release, Grenades. She answers with, “I’m the comfort of the stranger in the writings on the stall.” The album is full of quietly explosive lines like that, details of life rendered with precision, purpose, and poetry.“I do a lot of free-writing, which helps get out the imagery that I like,” Kater explains. “That line came from moments when I’d be in bathrooms and see very kind words on the bathroom door. I think the one that hit me was ‘you are beautiful.’ I thought, ‘What compels us to do that?’ Drunkenness, sure, but it has to be something more.”And that “something more” is what Kater explores throughout Grenades, the searching tied to her family’s past, present, and future. “It’s a mix of writing about love and finding one’s place at 24, but also about home and belonging which, for me, is a search that extends miles and miles — both on the earth itself and in my brain.”


Kaia Kater : Grenades

A Montreal-born Grenadian-Canadian, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: her family’s deep ties to folk music and the years she spent soaking up Appalachian music in West Virginia. Her old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have landed her in the spotlight in North America and the UK, garnering critical acclaim from outlets such as NPR, CBC Radio, Rolling Stone, BBC Music, and No Depression

Picture : Raez Argulla

Kaia started her career early, crafting her first EP Old Soul (2013) when she was just out of high school. Since then, she’s gone on to release two more albums, Sorrow Bound (2015) and Nine Pin (2016). Her second album wove between hard-hitting songs touching on social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement (“Rising Down”) and more personal narratives speaking to life and love in the digital age (“Saint Elizabeth”). Nine Pin won a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Stingray Rising Star Award and sent Kaia on an 18-month touring journey from Ireland to Iowa, including stops at The Kennedy Center, Hillside Festival and London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush. For her third album, Grenades (October 2018, Folkways/acronym Records), she took a decidedly different direction, choosing to lean into a wider array of sounds and styles, in order to convey a wider array of emotions and topics, most notably her paternal ancestry.

Picture : Raez Argulla

« …plaintive, mesmerizing…writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran… » -Rolling Stone

« Where bluegrass meets Nina Simone » – The Guardian

« You want some authenticity in your folk music or bluegrass – I give you Kaia Kater. » -No Depression

« A star in the making… »
-Folk Alley