Paste Magazine: What Our Staff Is Listening to This Week

Kaia Kater: Grenades

Earlier today I published a short list of Black roots artists whose music grapples with or at the very least touches on racial injustice and oppression, and while it was only meant to be a sampler, there are so many more artists I could’ve included. One of those is Kaia Kater, an artist who was featured prominently last year on our list of the best folk artists to watch in 2019 after her 2018 album Grenades had a powerful effect on me (and so many others) upon release. However, I admittedly had forgotten about it until a kind Twitter user mentioned her name (Thank you!) in a thread about other Black roots artists to know. Grenades was powerful in 2018, but, let me tell y’all, it is so important to listen to again today. I’ve been revisiting the album this morning, and Kater’s graceful balance of addressing both her Canadian and her Grenadian heritages hooked me back in immediately. Spoken-word interludes (like “Power! Power! Power!”) tell stories of oppressed people of color, and her smooth, powerful folk-pop delivery forces you to listen. On closer “Poets Be Buried,” she shares a piece of passed-down for surviving a world that doesn’t always care whether or not you do, and never backing down in the face of hatred: “I had a daughter and I taught her all I knew. / Fight in the gutter and love the work you do. / How for to warn her of hatred hiding in the blue … I asked my father if this is all there is. / A home that won’t claim you, a country that rescinds. / You are your own saint, a center to hold, a life to live.” —Ellen Johnson

Read the whole article here