There is something about a beautiful woman and a banjo that warms the soul. Kaia Kater was one of my favorite discoveries of Hillside 2017. Drawing heavily from roots, folk and Appalachian style music, her compositions are the stuff of the solemn southern United States, although she herself is Canadian. Unfortunately I missed her main set on a larger Hillside stage, but I did manage to catch her playing a few songs at a Hillside workshop. This is actually one of the more amazing aspects of Hillside, the festival asks performers from throughout the weekend to do smaller shows on the side stages. Often the artists will collaborate on each other’s tunes, resulting in the occasional powerhouse partnership.
One of the more down to earth performers I have met, I approached Kaia before her set at said Hillside workshop. I asked her to take a few portrait shots and she agreed before even knowing my name or if I worked for anyone. When it is a random ask many people will take the time to do this only when they know they will be featured in a big newspaper. The second she started playing I knew I was a fan. Kaia was very upbeat to talk to, but her music has a melancholy emotional flair to it, she seemed drenched in stoic confidence. Kaia’s style is spellbinding yet minimalistic. She is a true up and coming gem in the roots scene. Kaia Kater is your girl if you need some more passionate folk driven banjo playing in your life.
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