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Underground Railroad Music Festival

Saturday September 26th, 27th & 28th 2014  

Underground Railroad Music Festival

Underground Railroad Music Festival touring 3 great cities in September 2014

Don’t miss the 2014 Underground Railroad Music Festival Sept. 26, 27th & 28th when it comes rolling into your town. A blues and roots festival touring 3 great cities.

The festival is a one of a kind world class musical event that is named in honour and memory of the fascinating and touching experience of the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad was a series of routes and networks fugitive slaves used to escape from the southern United States to the north and on to Canada.

Blues performers and festival organizer’s Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley describe the festival as soulful and unique. Braithwaite’s own family on her mother’s side came to Canada through the Underground Railroad. “The festival is bluesy with a traditional vibe presenting individuals or groups that will touch your heart and soul with their unique history and songs.”

2014 Festival sponsors include the longtime blues supporter Dan Ackroyd BluesMobile Productions.
This year, the theme is North meets South: Old Songs For A New Day with two acts from the United States taking part in the festival: the wonderful daughter of the legendary blues artist – John Lee Hooker, Zakiya Hooker, and a traditional group of eight from the Georgia Sea Islands called The Georgia Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters. This group’s ancestor’s have lived in Macintosh county since the 1700’s and have kept the songs and stories and healing traditions of their ancestors that came from Africa to the Georgia Sea Islands alive from generation to generation. Eight time blues award winning artists Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley will also be presenting a concert at the festival.

Traditionally an outdoors event, this year the festival is going indoors. In September 2014, the Underground Railroad Music Festival will make stops in 3 cities where the show will be presented in 3 different indoor venues in Ontario:

Friday September 26th at The Grand Theatre in Fergus, Ontario www.fergusgrandtheatre.ca

Saturday September 27th at The First Grantham United Church, in St. Catherines

Sunday September 28th Matinee Concert, at Hughs Room, Toronto, Ontario www.hughsroom.com


For more information
email: info@hotblues.ca
or Phone: (416) 857-4951

FESTIVAL DATES & LOCATIONS AND HOW TO PURCHASE TICKETS:

Friday September 26th - 8 pm - Grand Theatre, 244 St Andrew St W, Fergus, ON
Tickets available at theatre box office or online at www.fergusgrandtheatre.ca or by phone at 519-787-1981
*Special Richard Pierpont Collection Exhibit – Courtesy of Wellington County Museum and Archives
*$10.00 redeemable OLG voucher per ticket holder – free to ticket holders on evening of event.

Saturday September 27th – 8 pm - The First Grantham United Church, 415 Linwell Rd, St. Catharines, ON
Tickets available at Marynissen Estates Winery, 1208 Concession 1 Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Tickets also available on-line at www.ticketscene.ca Underground Railroad Music Festival
Soul food buffet $20 per person served at 6-7 pm  in the church hall by reservation only - to make dinner reservations, please email info@hotblues.ca and specify amount of people attending and name reservations are under.

After dinner meet & greet the performers and enjoy Wine by The Glass for sale - Marynissen Estates Winery’s award winning wine maker Gordon Robert presents fine wine by the glass for sale 7-8 pm

Sunday September 28th - 1 pm - Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON 
Tickets available online at www.hughsroom.com or by emailing info@hughsroom.com
Lunch available for sale at Hugh’s Room before the show at 12 pm.
For lunch reservations or to buy festival tickets over the phone please call Hugh’s Room during regular business hours @ 416-531-6604

Ticket outlet charges may apply.
 

Please note:

For more info contact:

UR Music Society
Producers of the Underground Railroad Music Festival
416-857-4951
Or email: info@braithwaiteandwhiteley.com

Festival Schedule - 2014

Friday September 26th - 8 pm - Grand Theatre, 244 St Andrew St W, Fergus, ON 
Buy tickets here:  www.fergusgrandtheatre.ca

Saturday September 27th – 8 pm - The First Grantham United Church, 415 Linwell Rd, St. Catharines, ON
Buy tickets here: www.ticketscene.ca

Head Chef Carlton Francis of Kool Katts Caribbean Restaurant, prepares a special southern soul food buffet for the festival! Kool Katts has a universal appeal both to Caribbean-Canadians longing for a taste of home, or for those looking to spice up their dining experience & tickle their tastebuds. Soul food buffet $20 per person served at 6-7 pm in the church hall.
Click here for their website

Dinner By reservation only - to make dinner reservations, please email info@hotblues.ca and specify amount of people attending and name reservations are under. Soul food dinners can be paid for on Sept. 27th at church hall.

After dinner meet & greet the performers and enjoy Wine by The Glass for sale - Marynissen Estates Winery’s award winning wine maker Gordon Robert presents fine wine by the glass for sale 7-8 pm

Winemaker Robert who studied in France has won awards for his - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris & Chardonnay. For more information on this award winning winemaker and Marynissen wines, please go to www.marynissen.com

Sunday September 28th - 1 pm - Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON 
Buy tickets here: www.hughsroom.com or by emailing info@hughsroom.com
Lunch available for sale at Hugh’s Room before the show at 12 pm.
For lunch reservations or to buy festival tickets over the phone please call Hugh’s Room during regular business hours @ 416-531-6604

Artists - 2014

Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley

Festival organizers and performers


Diana Braithwaite & Chris WhiteleyWelcome all to our Underground Railroad Festival Page. We look forward to a wonderful weekend of blues and roots music with some very authentic and soulful performers taking part in this one of a kind music festival presented over the weekend of September 26th – 28th 2014. Now in our fifth year, this is the first time the festival will be held indoors in three unique venues in cities where people who travelled through the Underground Railroad settled. The Underground Railroad Music Festival goes beyond the music with a strength of spirit story and a celebration of victory and faith. Being performers ourselves, we are bringing together musicians to the stage that have unique heartfelt innovative shows with all the right things involved needed to entertain festival audiences. Laughter, poignant stories, warmth and friendship and unique musical expression. We guarantee you will be touched by each performer presenting at the festival, their unique stories and what they each bring to their music as a result of their own life journey.
We also invite you to take part in any of the additional activities that are scheduled throughout the weekend. Including food, wine, good music and great folks. The festival is about unity, friends new and old, celebrating and making history, with two countries -Canada and the United States and most of all it’s about a whole lot of good music that will touch your heart and soul.

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you there.
Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley

View website Here

Award winning blues originals and an authentic vintage sound!  8 time national blues award winners Braithwaite and Whiteley's album DeltaPhonic  reached #1 on XM satellite radio, B.B. Kings Bluesville. America's Blues Revue Magazine called them "Masters of Old School Blues". Winner of Chicago's African-American Women in the Arts Award, Diana Braithwaite's authentic sound led her into the company of stalwarts Albert Collins, and John Lee Hooker. Kansas born multi-instrumentalist, Chris Whiteley, appeared on Saturday Night Live and toured and recorded with Blind John Davis, SonnyLand Slim and Leon Redbone.

Georgia Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters from Darien Georgia

Rare Canadian Appearance!

 

Celebrating many years of preserving Geechee Gullah Ring Shouting, now one of the world’s top performers and preservers of the Geechee Gullah Culture.

Background on The Gullah/Geechee Culture
An Article by Congressman James E. Clyburn

Georgia Geechee Gullah Ring ShoutersThe sites, sounds and tastes of the Gullah/Geechee culture have been slowly vanishing along the coasts of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Small enclaves of Gullah, in the Carolinas and “Geechee” in Georgia and Florida remain.  There  you  listen  to  traditional  spirituals  like  "Kumbaya"  and watch  nimble hands weave gorgeous sweet grass baskets with a skill that has been handed down from generation to generation. 
There you  can  enjoy  the  aroma  and  tastes of “hoppin John” sweet  potato  pie,  or benne  wafers,  all  Gullah/Geechee specialties  that  have  found  their  way  into  our modern  culture.  

These  communities  were  developed  by  former  slaves whose life  on the  Sea  Islands began in indigo and rice fields.  When they  were  freed  they  gathered  in  isolated  and remote villages  that  nurtured  and  sustained  their  way  of  life  for generations.  But a few years  ago  developers  saw  the potential  to  turn  these  small  pockets  of  paradise into  resort areas  and  as  the  roads  and  bridges  came,  this  unique slice of  history and tradition grew  smaller  and  smaller.

Recently  legislation established  the  Gullah/Geechee  Cultural Heritage Corridor  and  created a  commission  to  help  federal,  state,  and  local  authorities  manage the Corridor and its assets.It  took more  than  seven  years  of  work  to  get  the bill passed  into  law, but  today  the  commission  is  working hard  on  efforts  to  preserve  and promote  the nearly  400 year old history  of  the  Gullah/Geechee  culture.
The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters live reside in Darien, Georgia one of the oldest cities in the United States.   Their ancestors who were brought to Darien in Macintosh County were brought as slaves and were master rice growers and indigo makers.

Click here to watch youtube footage of Georgia Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters

Geechee Gullah Music
Gullah/Geechee life and culture.This video segment from EGG, the arts show describes the community of Sapelo Island located off the coast of Georgia. The original Gullah/Geechee people of Sapelo were enslaved there, but when slavery was abolished the land on the island was abandoned to the slaves. Sapelo Island's valuable land is now threatened as it is the only Gullah/Geechee island to successfully resist real estate development. Each year island residents hold a festival. In order to preserve and educate people outside Sapelo, they bring people to the island to teach them about Gullah/Geechee life and culture.

Click here to watch special PBS video on Sapelo Island




Zakiya Hooker

Daughter of the world renowned blues artist John Lee Hooker

The Legend Continues….
Zakiya Hooker As an international celebrity who’s father is known by all blues lovers around the world, Zakiya Hooker is also an amazing gracious, humble and wonderful person.
Being the daughter of living blues legend John Lee Hooker, Zakiya is quite familiar with the blues. To choose to follow in his footsteps is a major undertaking. But rather than relying on her father, she has pursued life, and music, on her own terms, overcoming personal tragedy along the way. A strong and versatile vocalist, Zakiya has carved out a market for herself.
Zakiya made her debut performance in 1991 with her dad, John Lee Hooker, at the Kaiser Center Theatre in Oakland, CA. Since that time Zakiya has gone on to perform on shows with the likes of Etta James, Charles Brown, John Hammond, Taj Mahal and many more.
Zakiya has performed internationally in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Switzerland. She has performed at the world famous Filmore Auditorium, The San Francisco Blues Festival and The Monterey Jazz & Blues Festival. Zakiya’s voice can be heard on advertisements for Lexus and AIWA, also on the soundtrack of the movie Chalk, which won both the Camera d’Or at Cannes and Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in San Francisco.
To see Zakiya’s show is a sheer treat. Backed by some of the top names in the blues world, she puts on a witty, funny, emotional and most of all entertaining show. Her music has given her the opportunity to perform for fans the world over. Zakiya Hooker is John Lee Hooker’s living legacy and she is carrying her father’s seminal blues torch confidently into the new millennium.

John Lee HookerPhoto take in 1993 - John Lee Hooker relaxing in the living room of his Redwood City, California, home with his daughter, blues singer Zakiya Hooker
www.zakiyahooker.com

Watch Video Here

Miss Angel Brown

Special guest at Fergus Grand Theatre on Sept. 26th

Miss Angel Brown has carved a path of her own as a dynamic female blues artist.

Angel Brown grew up in Bigbee Valley, Mississippi, a farm kid, eldest in a family with six girls and seven boys. In grand southern Baptist tradition, singing was part of life, on the farm and in church. Angel’s great grandfather was a fire-and-brimstone preacher, her grandpa belonged to an a cappella gospel quartet.

Summer 1975, Denver, Colorado brought a milestone in Angel’s life..
“That’s when I met Mister Mel Brown.”  In the early ’80s, the Angel and recording artist Mel Brown settled in Austin, state capitol of Texas. Mel led the house band at Antone’s, a mecca for blues players and fans. Open every night of the week, Angel recalls. “Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy … all those people played Antone’s.”  It had never dawned on her to perform. Until the time Mel asked her if she’d like to do a couple songs with Antone’s house band. Angel sang the blues with a feeling with her own unique crowd-pleasing style and continues to do that until today.
Don’t miss the dynamic sound of Miss Angel’s Mississippi blues at the Underground Railroad Music Festival when she appears as a special guest only at the Fergus Grand Theatre Friday September 26th   

Click here to watch video



Special Guest Speakers

Reverend Harvey Kelley Grantham - United Church St. Catherines

Words of Inspiration relating to the Underground Railroad
Reverend Kelley grew up in Memphis , Tennessee , and since 1982 has served as the Pastor for The New Hope Baptist Church in Niagara Falls NY. Apart from his work as a pastor, Reverend Kelley has personally worked on five Humanity for Habitat houses where he did everything from light carpentry to interior painting.
His rich resonant voice , and deep spiritual knowledge make him a joy to listen to.

The Underground Railroad Music Festival
thanks the following sponsors for the 2014 event!

Our Sponsors

Dan Ackroid - BluesMobile

Fergus

OLG

THE GRAND 92.9 FM

For Youth




Special Guests

Words of Inspiration relating to the Underground Railroad

Reverend Harvey Kelley from the New Hope Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, NY will be the special guest speaker at the Underground Railroad Music Festival on Saturday Sept. 27th at the Grantham - United Church in St. Catharines, Ontario the city where Harriet Tubman made her home while she lived in Canada.

Reverend Kelley grew up in Memphis, Tennessee , and since 1982 has served as the Pastor for The New Hope Baptist Church in Niagara Falls NY. Apart from his work as a pastor, Reverend Kelley has personally worked on five Humanity for Habitat houses where he did everything from light carpentry to interior painting.
His rich resonant voice, and deep spiritual knowledge make him a joy to listen to.