Kaia Kater, performing in Palma this evening.


Following her sold-out show in London, Kaia Kater plays her only Spanish date this evening (Friday) at the Sa Nostra Cultural Centre in Palma. Born of Afro-Caribbean descent in Quebec, Kaia Kater sings a combination of old-time tunes and socially conscious originals, accompanying herself on the banjo.

She studied Appalachian music and dance at West Virginia’s Davis and Elkins College and her thorough understanding of history and ethnomusicology shines on her most recent release Nine Pin. Rolling Stone magazine has described her as "plaintive, mesmerising ... writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran... ." Last year, it named her as one of ten country singers to look out for.

Born in Montreal, Kaia has lived in Winnipeg, Wakefield and, most recently, West Virginia. She now resides in Toronto. Her old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have landed her in the spotlight in North America and the UK, and she will be touring the States, Canada and Scandinavia over the coming months.

Yesterday, Kaia, who will be accompanied this evening by double-bass player Andrew Ryan, told the Bulletin that she grew up on the road surrounded by folk music. "My mother was the executive director of folk and music festivals so we were constantly moving around Canada. I didn’t move to the States until I was 19 to study old-time music, Appalachian music, in West Virginia. I graduated last year after four years and have been on the road now ever since. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence in the popularity of old-time music. I think the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which was released in 2000, caught people’s attention and ever since, popularity in old-time music has grown. I have been accompanied by a fiddler, but Andrew with the double bass gives us a whole new dynamism.

"What is so great about old-time music is that it is so rich and so varied. One of the songs I play dates back to ninth century England. Another is slightly more modern and was written by my aunt Julie who is a singer songwriter. So, music is in my blood I guess. I love digging around in the old-time songs. I also write my own songs and although the topics and issues are obviously going to be very different and modern compared to the old lyrics, my words are still set for the banjo and that immediately lends the music to the genre. I have a lot of ideas flying around, lots of different influence when I write."

Andrew, who comes from a classic and jazz background, has been playing with Kaia for the past year since they meet at a week-long musical workshop for young musicians. He says that Kaia’s voice and style is so diverse with such a wide range that she also lends herself to jazz and that the set is extremely eclectic.


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