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Podcast, Community, Arts & Culture, Urban Issues

Episode 187: Freedom Singer — with Khari Wendell McClelland

September 27, 2022
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Khari Wendell McClelland, a diversely talented musician, writer,  and community facilitator, joins Am Johal to discuss music as a tool for community healing.

Khari explores music as an interactive process, and sees music as an opportunity to connect with the surrounding community. As an artist, he speaks about the importance of one's presence and the ability to connect with the audience. He says his willingness to interact with the community gave birth to so many of his collaborations. 

Khari also discussed the importance of his Freedom Singer Project as a means of connecting with his great great grandmother who was enslaved in the mid 1800’s, and he talks about his other projects like the CCB (Community Capacity Building). As a new father, he also shares how he balances his work with his parental life. 

This episode contains excerpts of Khari Wendell McClelland's song "Feels Real Good," courtesy of the artist.

About Our Guest

Khari Wendell McClelland

Khari Wendell McClelland is a diversely talented and ever-evolving artist. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Canadian music scene, with reviewers lauding his performances as a clever mix of soul and gospel.

Khari’s songwriting crosses genres and generations, joyfully invoking the spirit of his ancestors who straddled the US-Canadian border in efforts to escape slavery and discrimination. His music draws from this rich history, integrating the rhythms and folklore of early African-Americans with contemporary sounds and stories of struggle. Recently, Khari received critical acclaim for his Freedom Singer project, recreating the music fugitive slaves carried on their journey north into Canada. Khari also performs with the Roots Gospel group The Sojourners. Whether on stage or in the studio, Khari's passion for community, equality and justice is palpable, as is his belief in the redemptive power of music.

Khari’s recent jazz festival performances in Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver left audiences and reviewers wanting more. Opening for both Andra Day and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Khari is at home with Soul and R&B giants. His debut solo album "Fleeting Is The Time" is available through most online platforms.

Cite This Episode

Chicago Style

Johal, Am. “Freedom Singer — with Khari Wendell McClelland.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, September 27, 2022. https://www.sfu.ca/vancity-office-community-engagement/below-the-radar-podcast/episodes/187-khari-wendell-mcclelland.html.

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