The new album from young African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t come at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia.
The Appalachian Mountains, perhaps the most iconic strongholds of traditional music in North American history, form a direct line running from eastern Canada down through Alabama. They are the backbone of a body of ballads and tunes that define Americana and have heavily influenced Canadian roots music as well.