Kaia Kater was born and raised in Canada but chose to pursue her education in West Virginia. Her father was raised in Grenada and emigrated to Canada among political unrest in his native island. Kaia’s newest release weaves a musical and spoken word tapestry which connects both generations along with broadening her musical palette.
West Virginia’s folk and old-time music dominated Kaia’s first two releases, Sorrow Bound and Nine Pin. Both releases feature traditional tunes along with Kaia’s original tunes that document her personal and political narratives. While the national media hail the new release, Grenades, as “a bold new step” for the singer-songwriter; we discuss the album as a logical next step in her introspective narrative. The disc does feature a much fuller sound with a drum,keys,guitars while the earlier releases were spare affairs which relied on Kaia’s plaintive banjo and vocals. The band keeps the sound melancholy even where the songs add her father’s Carribean roots to the mix.
Grenades tells the family narrative of her father and his experiences in Grenada in the form of spoken word interludes that are mixed through Kaia’s eleven original tracks. This approach results in the feeling of an intimate conversation between father and daughter. The songs contexts and meanings come to focus as a result for the listener.
Grenades is a thoughtful ambitious work and continues to prove that Kaia Kater is a roots artist with an intelligence and insight into her own identity. The listener is brought along this personal journey and the rewards of the travel are many.
She will be appearing at Greenfield’s Hawks and Reed Performance Art Center on November 29th. Local singer-songwriter Lily Sexton opens the show.