Black History Month: Kaia Kater and Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble

Showcase Performance

Black History Month: Kaia Kater and Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble

Date: Sat, Feb 24, 2018 08:00PM
Price: $25, $22 Friends

Includes same-day Museum admission Round-trip shuttle service from downtown available for $5. Please check back for pick-up location and timings.

Join us for an exploration of Black/African diasporic cultural expression in all its many forms, drawing on a wide array of traditional and contemporary instruments, genres, and styles, journeying from Nubia to Harlem via Appalachia, New Orleans, and Mississauga. Instruments new and traditional engage in conversation, and musicians from across the city’s musical landscape come together to show us how far things have come — and where they continue to go.

In commemoration of Black History Month, we delve into the musical expressions of the African-Canadian experience with a double-bill featuring Waleed Kush Jazz Ensemble with special guest Ruth Mathiang, and banjo-player singer-songwriter Kaia Kater. The work of these artists, “only-in-Canada” though it may be, is rooted in the African continent — not only in terms of the music itself, but also in terms of how the work relates to issues of identity and how identity informs the work.


Round-trip shuttle service from 918 Bathurst St. available for $5. Shuttle departs 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education (918 Bathurst St.) at 6 pm. Shuttle departs from Aga Khan Museum at 10 pm to return to 918 Bathurst St. Please note departure times are subject to change.

Shuttle tickets are available for purchase together with seating for this performance at the "Buy Tickets" button above.


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. Her acclaimed debut album Sorrow Bound (May 2015) touched on this divide; her second album, Nine Pin (May 2016), delves even further, and casts an unflinching eye at the realities faced by people of colour in North America every day. The album’s songs, which NPR “can’t stop playing,” are fuelled by her rich low tenor vocals, jazz-influenced instrumentation, and beautifully understated banjo. Recently on tour with banjo-player/singer-songwriter, Kater’s former banjo tutor, and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Rhiannon Giddens, the Guardian called her “impressive.”

Like Toronto, the meeting place, the music of the Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble is also a meeting place where the ancient rhythms of Africa unite with the jazz harmonies of modern times. The origins of the music, the inspiration for the music and what it achieves is the harmonious mixing of rhythm and harmony just as Toronto is a harmonious mix of culture and people. Ruth Mathiang comes from a musical family, and began her musical career in Kenya, where she performed and composed, adopting various styles from traditional music, gospel, Afro-pop, and hip-hop. Members include Waleed Abdulhamid, Aaron Ferrera, John Ebata, and Cory Sitek, as well as special guest Ruth Mathiang.

Photo(s) by WestnyleFX



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