Khari Wendell McClelland is a diversely talented and ever-evolving musician. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Vancouver 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 United States-Canada 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. 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.
His debut solo album "Fleeting Is The Time" is fresh off the press and it is a brilliant body of work. Some songs make you want to cry, others make you want to dance, while many make you want to do both.
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.
Khari's performances are evocative and confirm how powerful his voice and stage presence are. He sings as if he swallowed an amplifier, reaching the last seats in the room with operatic clarity. Khari's poetic mind and open heart are omni-present in his genre-defying music. He is a rare breed and reminds us why we love genuine music.
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"In terms of my favourite performance, I know the question was broader, but it was when Khari Wendell McClelland played. I think that was really amazing because he brought this soul, spoken word, kind of gospel music thing that you just don't see a lot. It was cool to see people's reactions coming off of that and saying, "Man he took us to church!" Everyone was so stoked like, how do we get this kind of music in Vancouver?"
-Sofar Sessions via Vancity Buzz