“Masterful and amazing!” ~ Tampa Acoustic Music Exchange

Ken Whiteley has been playing folk, blues, gospel and other roots traditions at the highest level for well over fifty years.  He has received many awards including a Canadian Folk Music Award, 7 Juno nominations, 18 Maple Blues nominations, a Genie Award (for Best Song in a Canadian Film) and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Mariposa Folk Festival, The Maple Blues Awards and Folk Music Ontario but ultimately for Ken his music is all about making connection.   He loves to get people singing with him whether he’s on a concert stage, a folk festival, a church service or a yoga ashram.

Ken has made over 32 albums and his most recent one, “Long Time Travelling” was just nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award as Best Traditional Album this year. He has written over 400 songs that have won numerous awards and been covered by more than a dozen artists. Ken is a living link to the traditions of people he has sung and played with including Pete Seeger, The Georgia Sea Island Singers, Tom Paxton, John Hammond Jr., Blind John Davis and many others. He brings this vast experience to each performance as a way to allow all of us to come together through the power of song.

Long Time Travelling song introductions here.

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Return to Mariposa, Kitchener Blues

I’m very excited to be returning to the Mariposa Folk Festival, Tudhope Park, Orillia on July 6 and 7. My concert is 1 p.m. Saturday at the Estelle Klein Stage. I’ll have an all star band of Ben Whiteley (string bass), Bucky Berger (drums), Ciceal Levy (vocals and percussion) and Rob McLaren (guitars, banjo, mandolin, vocals).

It was 60 years ago that I went to my first Mariposa Folk Festival and my connection to the festival has changed my life.  In 1964 it was young, up and coming songwriters like Gord Lightfoot and Buffy St. Marie, traditional musicians like fiddler Jean Carignan and most importantly for me, blues musicians Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James and the Rev. Gary Davis.  My brother Chris and I first performed there in 1969 as “new songwriters” and wider audiences opened up for our group, The Original Sloth Band after we first played there in 1972.  I was on the board for 10 years and Estelle Klein, the longtime artistic director, was a great mentor to me.  Estelle had me as “program director” in 1976 and I was the artistic director of the festival in 1978 and 1980. In 2009 I was very honoured to be inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame.

My Saturday afternoon concert set at this years festival will, in part, look back at some of the performers who have touched me such as Bessie Jones, Jackie Washington, Bernice Reagon and Amos Garrett but will also include some of my newest songs that speak to our world today and the need for connection amidst the many challenges we face.  On Sunday 

On August 10, 11 I’ll be at the Kitchener Blues Festival in downtown Kitchener, ON. On Saturday my concert is at noon with Gord Mowat (string bass) and Ciceal Levy (vocals, percussion). On Sunday I’m doing a workshop on Blues & Gospel Harmony Singing with Ciceal Levy and David Wall.

Ciceal Levy, Ken Whiteley, Rosalyn Dennett, Gord Mowat