Ken Whitely plays Harrison Memorial Hall

Keith Whitely once played with Leon Redbone on Saturday Night Live. He brings his incredible musicianship and passion to the Harrison Memorial Hall stage on April 5. - Submitted photo
Keith Whitely once played with Leon Redbone on Saturday Night Live. He brings his incredible musicianship and passion to the Harrison Memorial Hall stage on April 5.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Referred to as a “playing encyclopedia,” Canadian roots music master Ken Whiteley will showcase his vast repertoire of blues, swing, folk and gospel at the historic Harrison Memorial Hall on Saturday, April 5 at 8 p.m.

“Ken is a performer with great depth and experience,” says Harrison Festival Society artistic director Andy Hillhouse. “He is one of the major figures in a Toronto folk music scene that goes back to the 1960s, and is part of an incredibly talented family of musicians, several members of which are also well-known artists on Canadian folk and roots music circuits.”

Whiteley began his performance career as a teenager with brother Chris and friend Tom Evans as The Original Sloth Band. With the Sloths, he performed all over North America and appeared on Saturday Night Live with Leon Redbone. More recently, his collaborations with brother Chris (The Whiteley Brothers) and old friends Mose Scarlett and Jackie Washington (Scarlett, Washington & Whiteley) have resulted in a wonderful collection of recordings, garnering high praise, successful tours and several awards.

A seven-time Juno award nominee, Whiteley has played at virtually every major folk festival in Canada and performed and recorded with such legends as Pete Seeger,  John Hammond Jr., Tom Paxton, Blind John Davis, Stan Rogers, The Campbell Brothers, Guy Davis, Raffi, Linda Tillerey and the Cultural Heritage Choir as well as countless others.

“Pretty much everybody in the Canadian folk scene knows Ken, or at least knows who he is. His white curly hair, effusive smile and charismatic presence are instantly recognizable,” says Hillhouse.

A prolific songwriter, gifted and versatile instrumentalist and powerful singer, Whiteley’s music communicates themes of freedom, love, spiritual aspiration and social comment. His performances are presented with participatory humour, grace and energy. Whether leading his own group, playing solo or collaborating with his peers, Whiteley’s “. . . deep knowledge and infectious passion” guarantee good times for all.

Whiteley will be joined by outstanding bassist Dinah D. Dinah, who has played bass with an array of musicians including Doug Cox, Harry Manx, Be Good Tanyas, and is the leader behind the all-star Contraband Swingclub and the award-winning children’s band, The Kerplunks.


w Tickets for Ken Whiteley are $22 and can be purchased online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison and Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart on Pioneer Avenue.

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