Two of Canada’s top blues performers are at the Chemainus Legion Thursday night for what promises to be a memorable evening.
Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley are back at the Legion Hall on Chemainus Road at 7 p.m. May 2, along with their touring band, to bring some of their award-winning music to their Cowichan fans.
Braithwaite has been dubbed a “national treasure” by Bluz FM radio host Danny Marks. Toronto born and raised, her ancestors traveled to Canada from Virginia via the Underground Railroad.
Braithwaite was chosen by Sarah McLachlan to open Lilith Fair at the Molson Amphitheatre, before 18,000 people. Her talent, and authentic blues shows, have led her into the company of such stalwarts as Mel Brown, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker and Jeff Healey.
Kansas-born Whiteley moved to Toronto as a youth where he met the great blues legend Lonnie Johnson, who taught and encouraged him. During the late 1970s, Whiteley toured and recorded with Leon Redbone, appearing with him on Saturday Night Live, and also worked with legendary Chicago piano player Blind John Davis.
Together, Braithwaite and Whiteley present authentic, vintage blues while they continue to expand their horizons internationally. They also like to give back to the community and have performed their original presentation about the Underground Railroad for more than 40,000 students across Canada.
Both are multiple award winners. Last year, Braithwaite won the Global Music Bronze award for Best Female Jazz Vocalist, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award at the Maple Blues Awards. Between them, they have also won a Songwriter of the Year award.
Whiteley is the winner of the Best Horn Player award, along with a Lifetime Achievement award. Other honours have included: a Gemini, an African-American “Women in the Arts” Award (Chicago), a Cable Ace Award (Los Angeles), six Juno nominations, a Golden Sheaf and a Jazz Report award.
Admission to the show is $15, and tickets are available at Rainforest Arts at 9781 Willow St. in Chemainus. Remaining unsold tickets will be available at the door.