Catherine-Ann was born on 21 November 1959 in the Island of Barra, Scotland. There she grew up with Scottish Gaelic as her first language. Electricity did not reach the island until she was six. At the age of five she started singing at candle-lit ceilidhs in the little village of Eoligarry. During the summer she sang for tourists. At the age of seventeen she joined "Fir Chlis" (Northern Lights). It was the first Scottish Gaelic repertory theatre company and did work for radio and television. Following budget cuts the company ended after three years.