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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Ken Whiteley


KEN WHITELEY (guitarist, mandolinist, autoharpist, banjoist, bassist) was born on April 30 in Pennsylvanis, U.S.A. The master guitarist and mandolinist, accomplished on 20 different instruments, is regarded by many as one of Canada’s finest musical statesman. He has worked with blues and folk legends from Pete Seeger to Lonnie Johnson, and performed at innumerable festivals throughout North America. He has been called a “playing encyclopedia” for his depth and range of styles, covering everything from blues and gospel to children’s music.

Describing his music as “drawing from the deep wells of many traditions”, the themes of Whiteley’s musical creations focus on freedom, love, spiritual aspiration, and social comment, all eloquently espoused in his acclaimed collaborations with brother Chris (The Whiteley Brothers) and old friends Mose Scarlett and Jackie Washington (Scarlett, Washington & Whiteley).

Ken Whiteley played with ‘Jackie Washington and Friends’ in the ‘Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre on December 4, 1994.


Ken Whiteley has personally been awarded:

- 7 JUNO Award nominations

- 3 Maple Blues Award nominations as ‘Producer of the Year’

- a Toronto Music Award

- a ‘Blues Album of the Year’ Award

- 2 Songs from the Heart Awards

- Parents' Choice Awards

- Children's Music Web Awards.

- a Canadian Folk Music Award for ‘Best Children's Recording’

- the Estelle Klein Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals.

- 2004 Genie Award for ‘Best Original Song’ (Tell Me)

He is a 7-time JUNO Award Nominee for his recordings in ‘Blues’, ‘Roots and Traditional’, and ‘Children’s Music’ categories

Ken and brother Chris Whiteley's album “Bluesology: A Journey Through The Blues” won the Jazz Report ‘Blues Album of the Year’ Award.

He has composed music extensively for films and TV including “Falling Angels” (a 2003 ‘Ten Best Canadian Films’ winner

Recordings produced by Ken Whiteley have sold in excess of 7 million copies and received:
- 9 Gold Records (Canada)
- 4 Gold Records (U.S.A.)
- 2 JUNO Awards
- 21 JUNO Award nominations
- 2 Grammy nominations.
- 3 Parents' Choice Awards.
- Notable Children's Recordings Awards (A.L.A)
- 4 American Gold Records for work with Raffi and Nancy Cassidy
- 10 Canadian Gold and Platinum Records with Fred Penner. Raffi. and his own Junior Jug Band.
- United Way Communications’ Gold Award.