The story of the Underground Railroad in Canada is emotional and compelling. Diana Braithwaite's personal history and connection to the Underground Railroad lead to the creation of a multimedia musical history workshop that Braithwaite and Whiteley have taken to primary and middle schools across North America. This Underground Railroad workshop has been performed over eight years to more than 80,000 students and community groups across the country.
Diana Braithwaite is a descendant of the Wellington County pioneers in Canada. With roots in Florida, Diana’s ancestor’s escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and lived for four generations in Wellington County, the first African-Canadian pioneer settlement in Ontario. Diana combines elements from Nina Simone, Esther Phillips, Lil Green and others to create her own unique authentic blues style. A forceful presence recognized on the Canadian and American blues scene as an artist with a unique sound who is keeping the authentic traditional blues sound alive in the contemporary blues scene today.
Multi-Instrumentalist Chris Whiteley was born in Kansas. Whiteley has performed on over 200 recordings with the likes of Leon Redbone and Blind John Davis. In Canada, Whiteley has received the Blues with a Feeling Award, for lifetime achievement in the blues. In January 2014 Chris Whiteley won the Maple Blues Award for the top blues horn player in Canada--for the 7th time.
“The BLUES has a long and honorable tradition dating back to its origins as the essential vector of African American sensibility and identity. Canadian blues artists, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley honor the blues tradition by bringing us fully into the realm of 21st century blues expressivity.
Along the musical journey with Braithwaite and Whiteley we learn what it means… a passage to
some next classic blues experience. This is the blues with all of its variety, ethical and escathalogical."
- American Book Award winning author, James G. Spady