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ONE SENTENCE HEADLINE
SHORT BIOGRAPHY (100 WORDS)
Tempered by experience and fuelled by passion, Ken Dunn’s music sneaks into your feet, heart, and soul. Distilling disparate life experiences into a proficient set of musical skills, his unique songs and stories take audiences on a healing journey of love and self-discovery.
With decades of touring and eight critically acclaimed albums to his credit, Ken writes, performs, and records with the intention of promoting peace, social, and environmental justice. Alternatively light-hearted and pensive, contemporary, yet infused with tradition, this is music focused on positive human values, with diversity and inclusivity at its core.
SHORT BIOGRAPHY (200 WORDS)
Ken has performed at hundreds of venues over the past 30 years, across Canada, the U.S., and Central America, sharing the bill with folk and roots icons as diverse as Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie P. Bennett, Valdy, and Garnet Rogers. More recently, he has been showcasing and performing with a number of emerging Canadian artists including Annie Sumi, Benjamin Dakota Rogers, and Moonfruits to name but a few.
His passion for social and environmental justice is also evident in the many benefit concerts he performs. In addition to his solo shows, Ken often performs with partner Anna Green, whose beautiful vocal harmonies enhance the emotional depth and character of his live performances.
Ken has released 8 albums of original music, which have received a number of awards, radio airplay and charting in Canada, the US and Europe. His most recent album, "Live in L.A." was released to radio worldwide by Trespass Music in February 2019. In support of the album, Ken is touring Canada and the U.S. He is also in the process of recording his 9th album.
LONG BIOGRAPHY (400 WORDS)
Combining an adept finger style acoustic guitar technique with "strong, distinctive vocals" (R2, Dublin), and "brilliant songwriting" (Hemifran, Sweden), Ken delivers his positive message directly to the soul of the listener with a style compared to that of Neil Young (Roots Time, Germany). Known for his engaging stage presence, sense of humour, and delightful story telling, Ken performs either solo, or with partner Anna Green, whose vocal harmonies add an ethereal dimension to live performances.
A veteran Canadian folk singer-songwriter, Ken has performed at hundreds of venues over the past 30 years, across Canada, the U.S., and Central America from concert halls to festivals and cafes, sharing the bill with folk and roots icons as diverse as Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie P. Bennett, Valdy, and Garnet Rogers. More recently, he has showcased with a number of emerging young Canadian artists including Annie Sumi, Benjamin Dakota Rogers, and Moonfruits to name but a few.
Ken's passion for social and environmental justice is evident in the many benefit concerts he performs, supporting charities as diverse as the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Amnesty International, Playing For Change and LA Family Housing.
Ken has released 8 albums featuring some of Canada's finest studio musicians, including Dennis Pendrith (Tom Paxton), Dean Drouillard (Jill Barber), Mark Mariash (Buffy Sainte Marie), Randall Hill, and Roly Platt. Ken's recordings have received critical acclaim, extensive airplay, and placement in film scores. His most recent album, "Live in L.A." was released to radio worldwide by Trespass Music in February 2019. In support of the album, Ken is touring Canada and the U.S. He is also recording his 9th album.
REALLY LONG BIO! (1500 WORDS)
After several decades of touring and the release of eight critically acclaimed albums of original folk-oriented music, Canada’s Ken Dunn is certainly a contender for the ‘old folksinger’ moniker, having distilled disparate life experiences into a unique and proficient set of musical skills he is most obviously passionate about sharing.
If you are already familiar with Ken’s compelling songs and stories, been to one of his many concerts, heard him on your favourite folk radio programme, watched his videos on YouTube, streamed his music on Spotify, and/or purchased one of his CDs on iTunes, then much of what follows will be of little surprise. However, if Ken Dunn’s music is new to you, strap on your reading glasses and headphones. Be prepared to know and love more…
In his review of Ken’s 2017 Wondrous Beauty album, veteran music critic John Apice writing for the American Journal of Roots Music, No Depression remarked that Ken’s music “sneaks into your feet, heart, and soul”. Indeed, Ken’s music creates an immediate connection with the listener, characterized by a sense of comfort and familiarity. It is from this vantage point that we are encouraged to gently leave our comfort zones and explore some of life’s more difficult challenges. In describing a recent 2019 festival appearance, Arwen MacDonald, Artistic Director of British Columbia’s Rogue Festival notes that “Ken Dunn's sound is like his performance - thoughtful, provocative, and embracing in a uniquely comfortable, almost familiar way”. Again, Ken’s experience in this regard was noted as far back as 1994 when the UK’s fRoots Magazine described his Winds of Emotion CD as “highly evocative and intriguing”.
Furthermore, Ken’s focus on the role that music can play in promoting social and environmental justice is reflected in lyrics which music blogger Tom Arvidsson at Sweden’s Thirsty Boots characterized as “spreading hope and a stubborn belief in humanity, despite the darkness around” in 2018. This dedication is also reflected in the many concerts Ken performs for charitable organizations throughout Canada and the United States, including annual concerts for the Harry Chapin Food Bank, and his recent 2018 benefit concert for LA Family Housing which resulted in the release of his last CD, Live in LA.
Although born in Canada, Ken’s Irish roots are apparent in a sound which has been described as “contemporary folk music based on traditional and Celtic influences" by Keys & Chords in Belgium when reviewing Ken’s 2016 album The Great Unknown. Then again, No Depression noted a similarity “to the stylings of folk legends like John Prine, Tom Rush and Tom Paxton” on 2017’s Wondrous Beauty, and as far back as 1996, Canada’s CHART Magazine portrayed Ken’s Precious Life album as “the folk tradition with integrity and sincerity”. So, the consensus would seem to be contemporary folk for sure, but with definite traditional, and in fact, Celtic influences.
So, lyrics and genre aside, how do we describe Ken’s sound, and what should we expect in terms of musicianship? Dublin, Ireland’s R2 Magazine (formerly known as Rock n’ Reel) noted Ken’s “strong, distinctive vocals” on 2000’s Time and Space CD. During that period, Germany’s Roots Time compared his vocal style to that of “Neil Young”. However, it is safe to say Ken’s voice has dropped an octave since then, gently seasoned by time, experience, and maturity!
A perennial student of the acoustic guitar, Ken’s finger style approach to the instrument has been described as “accomplished and unique” by renowned Spanish-Canadian guitarist and composer Jorge Miguel, Canadian Folk Music Awards 2013 World Solo Artist of the Year. Again, reviewer Tom Arvidsson of Sweden’s Thirsty Boots, describes Ken’s solo guitar playing on 2019’s Live in L.A. CD as “really honest music, played with a true nerve and pure quality”.
But don’t leave quite yet… There are several more unique qualities which make a Ken Dunn concert more than just a collection of words and music, by yet another singer/songwriter armed with great songs, a guitar and some fancy chops. Ken creates rapport, and engages his audience in a relationship building exercise characterized by healing, empathy, compassion, love, gratitude, inclusivity, respect for diversity and community building through the creation of safe space. These qualities can, at least in part be attributed to his experience and skill as a clinical psychologist, university professor, poet, yoga teacher, artist, and workshop leader. As Recreation Therapist, Amanda Kidnie noted after Ken’s recent 2019 Art Beat Concert for Folk Music Ontario “Ken really understands the healing effects that music can have, especially when people are recovering from an illness. His soothing voice and positive lyrics were uplifting and encouraging for our patients”.
If all this seems just a bit too serious, be reassured that Ken is a natural story teller with a disarming sense of humour, who creates a narrative akin to a musical play in his performances. Martha Renaud at Canada’s Windsor Folk described a recent 2019 performance as "soulful and poignant, thought-provoking and just plain fun, Ken Dunn had the audience singing along and loving him and his music”. Indeed, audience participation is an important component of Ken’s shows which create a world populated by characters and places both real and imagined. From the ghost of Joni Mitchell “riding out to sea on the very last Orca” in the soon to be released Song For Joni, to our transformation as beings of light destined for the star Antares in Farewell to the Cages, we are treated and challenged by visions of the past, present, and future. From the angels watching over hospital patients in Cross of Lorraine to the Mermaid of Avila roaming the ocean near a California beach town we are encouraged to encounter, confront, and ultimately be comforted by our own Wondrous Beauty.
And, if you a talent buyer and are not yet totally convinced to book Ken, or a potential fan wondering if you should buy a ticket to a show, or purchase a CD on iTunes… there is, what Jan Hall of Canada’s Folk Roots Radio calls “the icing on the cake” - Anna Green, Ken’s musical and life partner who you will hear on his CDs and who often accompanies him on tour (when she is not busy with her own careers as an artist, yoga teacher, mother, and grandmother!) Although Ken is an accomplished solo artist, it is obvious that when Anna takes to the stage, we are witnessing much more than just a musical collaboration featuring what John Morand at Canada’s Bank Theatre notes are “Anna's beautiful harmony vocals and accompaniment on keyboard adding an ethereal vibe”. This is a partnership forged in the cauldron of love, tempered by time, fuelled by unmistakable chemistry, and a rare gift for fortunate audiences. Just ask for the dynamic duo… we might just all get lucky!
So, how experienced is Ken in regards to performing? Well, he started off living his dream, busking in Toronto during the 1970’s during the “folk revival” of that time! He had a chance to meet one of his idols, Bruce Cockburn and perform in a jam at the first Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1974. But it really wasn’t until the 1990’s that his music career began to develop in earnest. A chance encounter in Belize (of all places) resulted in meeting and sharing the stage with the Mr. Bo Jangles himself, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the 90’s saw him perform hundreds of shows across Canada, with the occasional foray into the U.S. One highlight for sure was performing at The Festival of Friends in Hamilton, Ontario with Willie P. Bennett and Garnet Rogers where the (late) artistic director, Bill Powell praised Ken’s performance as “providing fresh insight into human complexities”. Years later, Valdy’s focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on the road had a huge positive impact on Ken when the two met while performing at the Trout Forest Festival in Ontario, Canada.
Over the past several years, Ken has lived and toured in California and British Columbia, often traveling via camper van with Anna and their Bichon Frisé, Louie. During this time, he has had the distinct pleasure of performing and showcasing with a whole new and inspiring generation of young Canadian folk performers including Benjamin Dakota Rogers, Annie Sumi, Madeleine Roger, Logan McKillop, Piper and Carson, Moonfruits, Graham Lindsay, and many others, too numerous to mention.
On the recording side, Ken has written and recorded eight full length albums of original, folk-oriented music, which have received critical acclaim, awards, and extensive airplay on folk radio around the world. Most recently, 2017’s Wondrous Beauty debuted in the Top 10 Canadian albums on the Folk DJ-L Charts, and 2019’s Live in L.A. was one of the Top 30 albums worldwide on the RMR Folk Charts. 2016’s The Great Unknown won Best Americana honours at the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles and was named one of 2016’s Best by Jan Hall’s Folk Roots Radio. Some of the musicians featured on Ken’s recordings include Dennis Pendrith (bass player for Tom Paxton, and Bruce Cockburn), Dean Drouillard (guitar for Jill Barber), Mark Mariash (drums and percussion for Buffy Sainte Marie), Randall Hill, Roly Platt, and Ben Grossman.
SELECTED PRESS: SYNOPSIS
"A troubadour who understands the art of presenting unique and contemporary folk music based on traditional and Celtic influences" (Keys & Chords, Belgium), "Ken Dunn is one of the great undiscovered folk artists of our time, writing songs that people both want to hear and remember" (Morovino, USA).
"With forays into the stylings of folk-legends like John Prine, Tom Rush and Tom Paxton, his music sneaks into your feet, heart, and soul" (No Depression, USA). "His thought provoking, heartfelt lyrics, and partner Anna Green's beautiful harmony vocals add an ethereal vibe" (The Bank Theatre, Canada) while "Ken's superb musicianship, sensitive lyrics, and gentle demeanor always create a memorable performance" (Harry Chapin Food Bank, USA).
"His guitar playing is beautiful, his original songs inspiring, and the man himself is a most positive person dedicated to peace and understanding. The audience always leaves with a fresh outlook on life and a belief in the possibility of a better, more peaceful world." (Field of Dreams Folk Fest, Canada).
SELECTED PRESS: LIVE PERFORMANCE
"Ken Dunn's sound is like his performance - thoughtful, provocative, and embracing in a uniquely comfortable, almost familiar way. His non-traditional vocals and storytelling-like lyrics lend a distinctive and notable flavour to the familiar folk genre in a way that is both enticing and exciting"
- Arwen MacDonald, ROGUE ARTS FESTIVAL, Wilson Creek, BC
"Soulful and poignant, thought-provoking and just plain fun, Ken Dunn had the audience singing along and loving him and his music. A magical part of our season-ending showcase event, thank you, Ken Dunn! "
- Martha Renaud, WINDSOR FOLK, Windsor, Ontario
"Thank you Ken and Anna for remembering us in The Blue Mountains! The house concert was enjoyed by everyone. The empathy and compassion in your lyrics are soul soothing and Anna's harmonies are the icing on the cake!"
- MaryJane McCrae, HOUSE CONCERT HOST, Thornbury, Ontario
"I have been blessed with hosting Ken Dunn with Anna Green twice in Owen Sound, Ontario. These wonderful people bring joy and warmth in their performances. The story telling and messages of how precious life is draws people in to listen intently, leaving them wanting to hear more."
- David Moss-Cornett, MOSSY GATHERINGS, Owen Sound, Ontario
"Ken Dunn's show at Kulak's Woodshed in North Hollywood exhibited folk artistry in its purest form. Ken's music and lyrics are heartfelt, and his performance rang true with his passion. And his support of LA Family Housing was the icing on the cake! "
-Hilary Mandel, LA FAMILY HOUSING, Los Angeles
“his music is beautifully crafted, with a dash of old country flair”
- Sandy Jacobson, Backstage: Los Angeles, LA TALK RADIO
"We were very lucky to have Ken and his partner Anna Green join us in Whitevale, Ontario for our 2018 Porchfest event. Not only was it a joy to meet these two talented folks, but the grass roots approach to their music was also a joy to listen to, especially the original songs off Ken's recent Wondrous Beauty CD, with the audience obviously enjoying themselves as they sat in the sun and listened to some traditional styled folk songs. Hopefully they will be able to join us again next year at Whitevale Porchfest for an encore performance, they will surely be a draw! "
-Mark Lowe, WHITEVALE PORCHFEST, Whitevale, Ontario
"Ken Dunn and Anna Green were a perfect act to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Their well blended harmonies on both the requested Canadiana covers and their original material bespoke a familiar and comfortable alliance forged over time. We liked them so much we’re having them back later in the series this summer!"
- Ross Powell, SECHELT SUMMER MUSIC SERIES, Arcadian Productions Inc., Sechelt, British Columbia
"When I first came across Ken Dunn’s music, I realized immediately it was something rather special. Great songs, thoughtfully delivered! Experiencing the quality of his live performance, accompanied by his partner, Anna Green, was icing on the cake."
- Jan Hall host of SUN PARLOUR COFFEE HOUSE SESSIONS, Leamington, Ontario (link - http://sunparloursessions.com/ )
"Ken Dunn's music provides refreshing insight into human complexities"
- (The Late) Bill Powell, FESTIVAL OF FRIENDS, Hamilton, Ontario
"For the past four years Ken Dunn and Anna Green have performed an annual house concert to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida. The event typically sells out shortly after it is announced. Ken and Anna’s superb musicianship, sensitive lyrics, and gentle demeanor create a memorable evening. Those attending invariably leave as fans looking forward to next year’s concert."
- Keith Scoggins, Chairman, HARRY CHAPIN FOOD BANK, Ft. Myers, Florida
"In my 10 years of experience booking musicians for my winery, I have discovered how very rare it is to have musicians with exceptional talent that are also the epitome of professionalism. Ken Dunn is one of the great undiscovered folk artists of our time. Folk music is so easy to get wrong. But both Ken's musicianship and songwriting skills are spot on. He writes songs that people want to hear. He writes songs that people remember. Backed by the tight vocal harmonies of Anna Green, the music is alternately haunting, uplifting and always deeply touching. Ken is always completely prepared and professional from the original booking through set up, the show and break down. Both I and my customers enjoy shows by Ken Dunn and we look forward to booking him as frequently as possible."
- Andrea Bradford, MOROVINO WINERY, Avila Beach, California
"The Bank Theatre was thrilled to have Ken Dunn and partner Anna Green come all the way from British Columbia to perform at a benefit concert for two area organizations; Southwestern Ontario Gleaners and Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions. Ken's passion for helping others is evident in his performance and his thought provoking, heartfelt lyrics. Anna's beautiful harmony vocals and accompaniment on keyboard added an ethereal vibe to the afternoon. We'll watch for them to tour this way again!"
- John Moran – THE BANK THEATRE, Leamington, Ontario
"Ken's guitar playing is beautiful, his original songs inspiring, and the man himself is a most positive person dedicated to peace and understanding. He was a performer at our inaugural Field of Dreams Folk Fest and played for us several more times over the years. Whether performing solo or with his partner Anna Green, the audience always enjoyed a wonderful show by a true professional, and left with a fresh outlook on life and a belief in the possibility of a better, more peaceful world"
- Patricia Carriere, FIELD OF DREAMS FOLK FEST, Big Bay, Ontario
SELECTED PRESS: RECORDINGS
LIVE IN L.A. (2019)
"Ken Dunn has a big heart for peace and justice and he writes his songs with a firm belief that love and understanding can save the world. Completely solo and peeled off, these songs shine even more and leave such impact that there is absolute silence in the room. This record is made for those who understand really honest music, played with a true nerve and pure quality".
-Tom Arvidsson, Thirsty Boots, Sweden
WONDROUS BEAUTY (2018)
"Ken Dunn must have that song catcher soul to have such tradition in his musical mind. His very John Prine-influenced performance also forays into the stylings of folk-legends like Tom Rush and Tom Paxton, sneaking into your feet, heart, and soul"
- John Apice, NO DEPRESSION, USA
"Ken Dunn is a troubadour who understands the art of presenting unique and contemporary folk music based on traditional influences. And with partner Anna Green, their two formidable voices create sublime harmonies"
- Lambert Smits, KEYS & CHORDS, Belgium
"Strong Canadiana with vision and conviction, Ken Dunn's lyrics spread hope and a stubborn belief in humanity, despite the darkness around"
- Tom Arvidsson, THIRSTY BOOTS, Stockholm, Sweden
THE GREAT UNKNOWN (2016)
"Ken Dunn is a great asset to the folk music world...he has released an intriguing CD ("The Great Unknown") which presents a unique conceptualization of folk... pleasantly quirky and mature, with great songs and arrangements"
- Fred Schmale, REAL ROOTS CAFE, Netherlands
"Breezy, easy going Americana folk rock"
- David Hintz, FOLK WORLD, Munich, Germany
"Folk Americana music that's both unconventional and classic at the same time"
- AKADEMIA MUSIC AWARDS, Los Angeles
TIME AND SPACE (2000)
"Highly evocative and intriguing" - fROOTS, UK
PRECIOUS LIFE (1996)
"The folk tradition with integrity and sincerity"
- CHART, Toronto, Canada
Live in L.A. (2019) - Top 30 Albums - RMR Folk Charts
Wondrous Beauty (2017) - Top Ten Canadian Folk Albums- Folk DJ-L Charts, September, 2017
The Great Unknown (2016) - Top 25 Albums of 2016- Jan Hall's Folk Roots Radio, Canada
The Great Unknown (2016) - Best Of 2016- Tom Arvidsson, Thirsty Boots, Sweden
The Great Unknown (2016) - Best Americana Album, February 2016 - Akademia Music Awards, L.A.