On October 26, singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Kaia Kater will release a new album, Grenades, via Smithsonian Folkways. The album follows Kater’s critically acclaimed 2016 album Nine Pin.
Grenades was inspired by Kater’s exploration of her own paternal lineage, which has roots in Grenada. Kater’s father, Deno, lived through both the 1979 socialist revolution in Grenada and Ronald Reagan’s subsequent invasion of the country in 1983 before immigrating to Canada at the age of 14. The influence of her father’s early life on Kater can be heard throughout the album’s interludes, which trace his journey through music.
Ahead of the album’s release, Kater has shared a new song, “Poets Be Buried.” The song takes thematic cues from Black Arts Movement poet Etheridge Knight’s poem “For Black Poets Who Think Of Suicide,” tying the poem to Grenades‘ broader focus on intergenerational connection and the deeply felt effects of one’s heritage on their present-day life.
“Through the poem, Knight urges Black poets to acknowledge their deep suffering and loneliness by creating art which celebrates life, rather than death,” Kater says. “Like Knight, my song acknowledges the crippling generational effects of despair, but is ultimately rooted in necessary hope. The chorus, ‘Poets Be Buried in tender marching feet/Buried as seeds and watered in the street’ is an honest account, a call to arms, a drive for the inalienable right to refute the normalization of acts, economic and political, which keep entire populations down. It is to say, the depth of your humanness—or of mine—is worth standing up for.