Music Great preaches Gospel

Brampton Guardian, Radhika Panjwani, January 8, 2011

Jazz, gospel and root music aficionados can drive away winter blues with a bit of music. Noted singer/songwriter Ken Whiteley will be stopping by the city for a concert, Jan. 21 at the Sanderson Hall at St. Paul’s United Church, 30 Main St. S. at 7:30 p.m. The performance is part of the Friday Folk Night by the Brampton Folk Club. Whiteley will be joined by his son, Ben and Brampton’s very own gospel singers; the Levy sisters– Amoy and Ciceal. Jamie Riley will perform the opening act.

Whiteley, a two-time Grammy nominee has won 13 Maple Blues Awards, produced over 125 recording projects and four American Gold records and has sold over eight million copies of music. The Canadian legend has also collaborated with musical giants such as Pete Seeger, Blind John Davis, Stan Rogers and John Hammond Jr. His latest album Another Day’s Journey, is a musical odyssey about the paths travelled and the places that have left an indelible mark.

“As you do this longer and longer, you go deeper into the music and are able to perform it from a deeper place,” said Whiteley. “I am always trying to get to a clear and more present place. With Another Day’s journey, the intention is not to evoke a feeling of nostalgia but acknowledging the treasures of the past that have influenced me and it’s very much an expression of the fact that these things in the past have brought me to this place.”

He explained most songs on the album are new songs even though they reflect his past experiences and almost all songs underline the philosophy of “being happy and accepting the joy of the moment.”   

Whiteley’s unconventional voice, introspective lyrics and infectious music have a lot to do with learning by osmosis. From Skip James’s falsetto and vocal intensity to Campbell Brothers’ dexterity with the sacred steel, an gospel style that went underground and resurfaced in the 90s – Whiteley’s influences have been many, yet his style and soul remains distinct. Also, the Toronto native happens to be versatile musician who can play at least 20 instruments. 
When in Brampton, he will play alongside his son, Ben.

“There’s a very active intuitive faculty that allows us to kind of know where the other person is going to go,” Whiteley said about the experience of playing with both Chris and Ben. “You can veer from the game plan and the other person will almost see it coming. It is interesting because in Brampton, I will be performing with two sisters Amoy and Ciceal and they have the same faculty with their harmony singing where I see them look at each other and without saying a word they know where to go…”