(Session originally published in September, 2015)
Born in Quebec of mixed Afro-Caribbean ancestry, Kaia Kater, resides in Toronto and spends extensive time in West Virginia, where she ardently studies balladry and traditional dance. As an original songwriter, she works to incorporate her perspective as one of the few people of color in roots music into the complex racial history of the traditions themselves. Her music combines beautifully subtle old-time banjo with soft sensibilities, mixing elements of both Canadian and American historical traditions with a decidedly modern sound.
Kaia was born into the folk music scene. Her mother is a festival director and she learned to play clawhammer banjo at age 11 from Mitch Podolak (founder of the Winnipeg Folk Festival). Now, the Canadian native is studying the Appalachian folk traditions in West Virginia and connecting with the work of a range of artists – from old-time musician Dom Flemons to hitmaker Kendrick Lemar. A star in the making, Kaia stopped by the studios of Beehive Productions in Saranac Lake, New York to play a few songs from her debut release, ‘Sorrow Bound.’