I’m Kate Callahan. I've always had a light in me when it comes to songwriting and singing. It makes every experience with my audiences unique. I get to say that playing music is my job. But what most people don’t know is that my job helps people feel love no matter how their day has been. When my music and my heart are working together, I express myself in ways I couldn't have predicted, with words I haven't prepared. This is when I feel closest to my uninhibited nature. Then the chance exists for my heart to intimately transform an ordinary concert moment into something extraordinary for people to feel and pass on to those around them.
Today, I’d have to say I am at my best giving concerts; this is one constant in my life. My career has given me the opportunity to serve something greater while being true to myself. As a folk singer, I can’t think of a better way to serve a greater purpose than by being Connecticut’s State Troubadour. Since my appointment in March 2016, I’ve performed music throughout all four corners of the state,
meeting venue owners, radio DJs, public access crews, and
other folk singers all making efforts to awaken communities
with music and messages of equality, solidarity and
As former Connecticut State Troubadour, I
have been most humbled to work with women
inmates at York Correctional Institution last
spring. Thanks to a grant from the Hartford
Foundation for Public Giving, my Vocal Empowerment
pilot program served to remind women who’ve been
incarcerated that their voices can still have a positive impact
on their lives.
Empowering the voice is personal to me. Twenty years ago, I suffered a brain injury in a ski accident and found that I couldn’t sing anymore. I didn’t understand that I could open my mouth and make melodies. Giving up on my voice, I decided to try and learn to play the guitar. I thought it would be impossible, but my teacher
Jamie Sherwood treated me like every one of
his other students. Over time not only did I
become skilled at the guitar but I also got
my singing voice back. It felt like a miracle.
All of these years later, I love to help
others develop a relationship with their
voices, like I did. My Vocal Empowerment
Coaching Business is called Affirming
Voice, LLC and serves those who wish to
speak or sing in a bigger capacity.
I also love to use my voice to tell stories
and weave anecdotes about the healing
power of music throughout my concerts.
I’ve learned from some of the best, having
shared stages with songwriter legends
Judy Collins, Noel Paul Stookey
(Peter, Paul & Mary), Aztec Two Step, John
Gorka, Claudia Schmidt, Mustard’s Retreat,
and the late Bill Morrissey.
I’ve come to understand over the years that my voice can help me and others experience the mystery of life. When something feels soulful to me, I say it or sing it or write it. WNPR host Colin McEnroe praised a performance of mine, saying, “Kate Callahan is the only
performer I’ve ever seen who occasionally seems to be channeling something vaster and far more ancient than herself, something more easily understood by Emerson than by any modern person.”
M E E T
K A T E
Colin McEnroe’s quote moved me to tears (and chills) when I read it five years ago. Yet it’s taken me all this time to understand who I am and how I want to help here through my music. Lastly, for the record, I’m kind of peculiar, wired for long naps, and deeply curious about the impulses that move humans to love—ourselves and each other.