Ken Whiteley

Brief Biography


AAAKen Whiteley is one of Canada's pre-eminent performing artists. He's been called a "playing encyclopaedia" for his vast repertoire, command of a wide variety of styles (including blues, gospel, swing, folk and his own compositions), and his prodigious ability on over a dozen instruments . His songs have been covered by half a dozen artists and his walls are adorned with a dozen gold and multiple platinum records, but it is the immense joy that communicates from all his musical endeavors that make his work so unique.

His performing career began in 1965 with a jugband that eventually became the Original Sloth Band. With the "Sloths," Ken performed all over North America, recorded three albums (now collector's items) and appeared on Saturday Night Live with Leon Redbone. In the seventies his instrumental skill began to be employed in the recording studio on many albums and soon he began to occupy the producer's chair. His groundbreaking work bringing the world of "roots" music to children's recording has seen his productions sell five million copies and lead him to be called "the godfather of children's music." He has also produced recordings by people such as blues star John Hammond, Tom Paxton, and a host of others. Two recent releases have both been nominated for Juno awards - "Where Old Friends Meet" with Mose Scarlett and Jackie Washington; and his collaboration with brother Chris, "Bluesology" which was a 1994 Juno nominee and winner of the Jazz Report "Blues Album of the Year" award.

Ken during the 1970s was not only a performer with Mariposa and Mariposa in the Schools, but was a key member of the organization in putting together the festival each year. We welcome him back as one of our key performers.