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Shenandoah, Winterfolk & Gratitude

Mandocello, mandolins and the influence of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

Let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other…” – This is from the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address which I first learned in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass”. There are lots of versions on the web and here’s a link to one from a great, local project, Legacies, Earth to Table. In it we thank all the life sustaining dimensions of Nature and acknowledge the inherent reciprocity required as we all form parts of one whole. I definitely recommend checking the whole thing out. Our human world could certainly use more of that wisdom.

I start with this because our song of the month, free download is Shenandoah. The Shenandoah named in the famous song was a Haudenosaunee chief. Originally made up by voyageurs, the song was sung as a shanty on boats all over the world in the 19th century. Unlike a number versions of the song, I didn’t want to sing about wanting to take Shenandoah’s daughter away “across the wide Missouri”. When I included it on my new album, “Long Time Travelling”, I was relating to the forces that carry us forward on our journeys and thinking of what could internally anchor us as we cross the many waters of life. So in my imagination Shenandoah’s voice was one that connected me to that ancient wisdom, that is reflected in the Thanksgiving Address

Song of the Month Free Download!

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Also coming up is a performance by Ken Whiteley & The Beulah Band at this year’s online Winterfolk. Winterfolk is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary in 2022! The festival runs Feb. 19, 20 & 21 and they have an amazing line-up throughout weekend. Our set is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (details below) It was awesome to play live off the floor with Rosalyn Dennett, Rob McLaren and Gord Mowat for the first time since the pandemic and it was expertly captured by Tim O’Reilly (Soundstill Prod.) and audio engineer extraordinaire, Nik Tjelios.

  • The stream is free, but they do encourage donations to Winterfolk. Viewers need to register here
  • After successful registration, an email will be sent with password, including a link to the stream page. 
Ken Whiteley & The Beulah Band to perform for Winterfolk 2022
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Brand new recording, Long Time Travelling

I’ve recorded a new album and for a limited time, I’m going to give away a free download of one song a month beginning with the title track!

Last winter I was thinking about old folk songs that I loved and wanted to put my own spin on. The project grew as I dug into songs I’d known for over fifty years and began recording them. Some songs wanted new words. Some had a myriad of versions and it was like piecing together a puzzle. It won’t surprise those of you who know me that I took great delight in mixing traditional acoustic instruments that evoked the songs origins (fretless banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, etc.) with more modern sounds like lap steel, Hammond organ, drums and spacey electric guitars.

I wanted to be able to explain each song, the way the extensive old Folkways liner note booklets used to. I mentioned this to someone under the age of thirty and they responded right away that I should make a short video of what I wanted to tell people. I’ve embraced the 21st century and so here’s the video for the first song, Long Time Travelling.

Ken Whiteley in the folk song garden

This song will only be free for a limited time. By Valentines Day, the 2nd song from the new album will be available. Make sure you check back and tell your friends too. Enjoy.

Song of the Month Free Download!

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Old albums widely available again!

Finally a bunch of my older releases will be available on streaming services, etc. Songs From Sivananda Kutir, The Light of Christmas, All of the Seasons and Musical Mystery Machines are all either online now or soon will be. I also created a Junior Jug Band Collection with tracks from all three Junior Jug Band albums. Check them out, share them with friends, include them on playlists. Have fun.

Meanwhile stayed tuned for my brand new album, The Folk Song Garden which will be premiering right here on my web site in the new year. Let’s hope 2022 will provide more chances for us to share music.

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Bigger Than That …

When I performed at Owen Sound Summerfolk towards the end of August I promised on stage to post a recording of my song, Bigger Than That. This is from an unreleased cache of recordings I made with the amazing Sufi musician, Davod Azad. He is featured on oud on this track. Sharon Riley, along with Amoy and Ciceal Levy add stellar vocals and it also includes Bucky Berger on drums and Ben Whiteley on bass. Sharon and Bucky were integral parts of the ensemble with me at Owen Sound, along with Pat Patrick, Coco Love Alcorn and Gord Mowat.

Davod Azad on oud and Ken on his National resophonic guitar.
Davod Azad on oud and Ken on his National resophonic guitar.
Bigger Than That

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Back to Summerfolk Music Festival!

A lovely moment backstage with Cara Luft (The Small Glories) and Coco Love Alcorn at Summerfolk Festival 2016

I’m looking forward to getting back on the Summerfolk stages for 2 concerts this summer. I hope you’ll join Sharon Riley, Pat Patrick, Gordon Mowat, Bucky Berger and me for the Sunday Gospel Matinee along with the delightfully talented Coco Love Alcorn at the Kelso Ampitheatre Stage on August 22 from 1pm to 2pm. Then I’m heading over to the Sutacriti Stage for my concert from 3pm to 4pm. Please remember to bring a mask. For tickets and more info, call 519-371-2995 or go to

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Free Live stream concert, June 16

Wednesday, June 16

8pm ET

Singing the Light – a gospel singing yogi concert with Ken Whiteley

Join us for a uplifting and inspiring concert with award winning musician, performer, songwriter, record producer, and Sivananda Yoga teacher Ken Whiteley. Experience the great joy and release of gospel singing as Ken shares his extensive experience and great love of traditional gospel music.  This free live concert will be offered by Zoom weblink. Click the picture above or here to register and then the Yoga Ranch will email you back the zoom link.

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another spring…

The world keeps circling the sun and I’m going to keep singing. As well as the nightly singalong / shout out for frontline workers (and others) on our street, I’ve been working on creating a new album. If you want a little peak into it, here’s a clip from a live stream performance I gave as part of the North American Folk Alliance virtual conference. It’s my performance of Shenandoah.

Shenandoah on the mandocello

You can check out my “Ode To the Road” post from early fall for more on the singalong/shoutouts and also my video performance of “You Better Mind” from my most recent album, “Calm In The Eye of the Storm” (available on this site).

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Happy Easter!

I have been doing an Easter time concert at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram Camp in Val Morin, Quebec almost every year since 2002 and Saturday, April 3 I will do one you can join HERE from anywhere over Zoom. There will be a short meditation at 7:30, a bit of chanting and then the concert will start. This will be the second Easter concert that will be virtual and it feels odd to think the earth has gone all the way around the sun and we’re still in the pandemic wilderness.  While I’ll miss hearing your voices, hopefully next year we’ll be sharing the space together. In the meantime, sing away from wherever you are.

The Easter resurrection story is one of faith in the midst of incredible challenges, forgiveness, renewal, and ultimately joy and connection.  I’ve got a new Easter song called “The Stone Was Rolled Away” I’ll premiere in the concert. My continuing spiritual practice sustains and deepens the resonance I have felt since childhood in this most holy of Christian holidays. I hope you can join us.

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Spreading some light…

I was surprised and delighted to be awarded the Maple Blues Lifetime Achievement Blues With A Feeling Award this February.  I thought I’d embrace this auspicious occasion as a time to post a new video of my original version of the African American spiritual song You Better Mind.  The song appears on my newest Borealis release, Calm In The Eye Of The Storm.  For the album I recorded it with sacred steel sensation Nikki D. Brown and the Sisters of Thunder.  The video however is very much a product of this year of the pandemic. On it I sing and play all the parts including bass, lap steel, percussion, etc.  Mako Funasaka masterfully crafted the video from my own shots of me busily recording all the parts.

On February 19 I will be part of the Virtual Winterfolk Blues and Roots festival. It’s a great line up and you can watch it by registering here. I do a set with Ben Whiteley accompanying me on mandolin, guitar and harmony vocals.

Then on Monday, Feb. 22 I’ll be doing a live stream concert for the virtual North American Folk Alliance conference at 8:30 EST. Of course you can register for the conference (with a sliding pay scale) and see a lot of great workshops and other concerts, but if you want to watch my show you can do it here.

Whether you believe that we’ll all have to “give an account in Judgement”, call it the law of karma or accept that our actions can have consequences, I hope we all remember to put a little love and kindness out there and spread some light.

screen shot from the new Video You Better Mind
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Holiday happenings!

As I write this Chanukah is just beginning and we enter into this season of celebrating the light in the darkness. There are some upcoming online events that I hope may bring you some light.

On Sunday, Dec. 20 I will be giving an online holiday concert for the Sivananda Yoga Centres in Toronto and Montreal. It will be a fundraiser for Sun Youth which works with individuals and families in need from the Greater Montreal area by providing a range of emergency services to ensure basic needs and to preserve people’s integrity, by contributing actively to crime prevention and by promoting the physical, social and intellectual development of people through education, sports and recreation.

The program will be 6:00 – 7:15 pm: Yoga Class, 7:45 pm: Meditation and my concert will start shortly after 8 pm. for about an hour. I’ll be singing songs from Light of Christmas cd as well as other holiday favourites.

Registration: Please donate online, any amount, directly to Sun Youth and send the confirmation e-mail you receive from them to We will send you the Zoom link prior to the event on December 20 upon confirmation of your donation. (Sun Youth will provide you with a tax receipt).

See the store for FREE SHIPPING this month for all CD’s!

On Saturday, Dec. 19 I’ll be participating in the Sultans of String – Christmas Caravan – Livestream ZOOM concert with fantastic special guests!
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST Limited tickets available:

Celebrate a musical trip around the world with special guests Rebecca Campbell – vocals, Tamar Ilana – flamenco & bellydance, Donné Roberts – vocals & guitar, Kristine St-Pierre – vocals & guitar – en français, Eddie Paton – guitar and the fabulous Sultans, Chris, Kevin, Drew, and Chendy!

Finally Roncesvalles United Church is taking their Christmas Eve service online and I’ll be part of that too.

We’re still singing on our street, too. Meanwhile, keep singing in your soul.