Kaia Kater
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Kaia Kater

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Band Folk Americana

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Press


Kaia, the babe of Babes, is eighteen, and the whole world just recently opened up to her in the form of a banjo. I asked her if she knew about Joe Thompson, the last surviving old- time Black fiddler. She did. Then I asked her if she was ready to take up the burden of preserving his and his banjo playing cousin Odell's music, and she said she was. I almost cried. You can't go anywhere if you don't know where you've been, and she knew from the get-go. - Andy Cohen - Wepecket


Kaïa Kater may only be 18 years old, but plays a mean banjo. You should definitely keep an eye and ear open. - Edge of the City - Podcast


Old-time music isn’t the type of music you are likely to find on your teenager’s mp3 player, far less discovering that they are actively learning an associated instrument and style while actively integrating themselves into the community. At only 19 years old, clawhammer-style banjo enthusiast Kaia Kater engages her audience with her own unique take on the genre, affording the more seasoned pros the confidence that there are those ready to carry the traditions to future generations. - Bloody Underrated


You'd have heard music like this on back porches in the previous two centuries - provided the back porch pickers were of the caliber, say, of Samantha Baumgardner, Ola Belle Reed, Cousin Emmy, Lillie Mae Ledford or Earl Scruggs's older sister.
These women, Andy Cohen points out in his liner notes, were among the original banjo babes. Popular wisdom may classify the banjo as a man's instrument, but banjo popularizer Pete Seeger picked up his best licks from Baumgardner; Scruggs learned at his sister's knee, Cousin Emmy showed Grandpa Jones how, Ledford made a commercial breakthrough for female pickers with the Coon Creek Girls and Ola Belle Reed's name is typically spoken with awe. Atwater, Goodman, Hawke, Kater, Ladin and Sheehan are worthy heirs to these women.
If you've got a case of the lowdown country blues, you'll find a cure in Atwater's "See That My Grave is Kept Clean." Ladin's "Precious Days" is a new and personal song, but as reassuring as a hymn out of a tiny roadside church. The centuries old "Willie Moore" is shown as eternally new in Sheehan's version. Hawke's instrumental "Greasy Goat" will make any picker wish she could play like that. And you just have to kick up your heels when Goodman's "Boatman" is playing."
Kater's "Rappin' Shady Grove," says much about the circuitous path of the music of the people. A modern-style rap telling how the Canadian Kater was drawn to this music is blended with the Appalachian classic "Shady Grove" - and blended seamlessly, as if the two had always been meant to be played together. - Sun Chronicle


I have just seen the Ola Belle Reed of the 21st century. She is an 18 year old from Winnipeg named Kaia Kater (Hurst) who has been playing banjo
for just 5 years and knows every inch of that long neck. Mitch Podolak was her first teacher. She sings the old songs and composes fascinating

new tunes describing her sound as alternative/crunk/folk. Find her now. - Art Menius


Discography

Banjo Babes, Wekpecket Island Records (2 songs on all-female banjo compilation, distributed in USA and Canada - 2013)
Old Soul (EP - 2012)

Photos

Bio

One of the youngest performers in the old-time and folk communities, this 20 year-old plays the banjo, sings and has her own unique take on Appalachian music.

Kaia is an eclectic traditionalist, and thanks to her youth and her showmanship — she engages audiences with music that most people her age have hardly heard about.

Working with Toronto producer/musician Chris Bartos (Jonathan Byrd, Barr Brothers, Sarah Harmer) Kaia released her debut EP in February 2012, and is working on a full-length album for release in 2014.

Originally from Québec, and now based in Toronto, Kaia is currently on scholarship at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, WV, where she is pursuing studies in Appalachian music and culture. She performs regularly in Canada and as part of her studies in the USA.

In 2013, she played numerous music festivals throughout eastern Canada and the United States and was the recipient of the 2013 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Scholarship.