News & Updates
"In terms of my favourite performance, I know the question was broader, but it was when Khari Wendell McClelland played. I think that was really amazing because he brought this soul, spoken word, kind of gospel music thing that you just don’t see a lot. It was cool to see people’s reactions coming off of that and saying, “Man he took us to church!” Everyone was so stoked like, how do we get this kind of music in Vancouver?"
-Sofar Sessions via Vancity Buzz
I am currently doing a national tour of FREEDOM SINGER. Having a Great Great Great Grandmother (Kizzy) who escaped slavery on the underground railroad, led me to collect and interpret lost and forgotten songs from the Underground Railroad. My journey to collect the music was featured on CBC(The National and Tapestry). The FREEDOM SINGER show is a theatre piece that features the music I found. You can find an interview on the show and my journey here (CBC's The q): http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/wednesday-feb-1-2017-roberto-aguirre-sacasa-khari-wendell-mcclelland-and-more-1.3958016/khari-wendell-mcclelland-traces-his-ancestors-path-to-freedom-through-music-1.3959977
I am excited to share my debut single, Roll On, ready for you to purchase. The full EP, Fleeting Is The Time, is nearly complete, with no small debt to my amazing producers, Cosmo Sheldrake and John Raham, and to the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings (FACTOR) for their generous support. We recorded in the historic Vancouver studio, Afterlife Studios (formerly known as Mushroom Studios) where the ghosts of Led Zeppelin and The Supremes aided us in making something we are really proud to share with you.
Meanwhile, I continue my investigation of the music of the Underground Railroad, reimagining the songs that inspired people of African decent as they escaped slavery and headed north to Canada in the 1800s. Last year, supported by Canada Council for the Arts, I travelled to Nova Scotia, Southern Ontario and Detroit, tracing the footsteps of my great-great-great grandmother who escaped slavery and sought refuge in Canada. There, I spoke with elders and historians, looked through archives and began stitching together a suit of songs from this important chapter in history.
Last month, I performed some of these songs at FREEDOM SINGER: A SPECIAL TOQUE SESSIONS CONCERT at the CBC Studios in Vancouver, accompanied by a full band and six-person choir, featuring Marcus Mosely and Will Sanders (from The Sojourners), Karina Morin, Dawn Pemberton, Juhli Conlinn and Kristie McCracken. It was a special evening for all present. You can watch the full concert at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/khari-mcclelland-of-the-sojourners-performs-songs-from-the-underground-railroad-1.3407982 The project will be featured on CBC’s The National later this month. I look forward to sharing more exciting news and updates in the next little while.