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Kenny Kirkwood

Kenny Kirkwood is a Juno award-winning Canadian musician who has toured internationally in a career spanning three decades. He has worked with Gord Downie, Kim Mitchell, Jacksoul, Kevin Breit, NOJO and Paul Reddick. Kenny has also opened for James Brown, Al Green and performed for Quincy Jones.

Kenny spent his childhood in Zambia, experiencing traditional Bemba and Nyanja music, language and culture, and hearing local folk and pop groups and church choirs. These experiences deeply ingrained in him the value of the communal and spiritual aspects of music, song and dance in everyday life.

Over the last decade Kenny has collaborated with Indigenous people on Turtle Island and worldwide in working towards reconciliation. He worked with Anishinaabe and Onkwehón:we 2-Spirit people to create “Reconciliation Through Music 2017,” a concert fundraiser in support of the, “I Am Affected,” campaign supporting 2-Spirited people. In 2018, he performed with Mohawk singer-songwriter Lacey Hill and The Wild Blueberry Band at Six Nations Pride.

In recent years he has performed with several award winning Haudenosaunee blues-rock-jazz artists including Derek Miller, Joshua Arden Miller, Cheri Maracle, Murray Porter and The Ollivanders.

As a creative composer-songwriter, Kenny has led several bands known for their dynamic and interactive performances. His Zambian-inspired collective ZAMCAB was featured at AfroFest 2003 in Toronto. In 1999, his smooth jazz group A BAND CALLED KITE, released their debut CD, “Kite Tales,” recorded live at Toronto's premiere jazz venue the Top of the Senator.

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”Who is this man who sounds so happy?” - Avril Benoit - CBC Radio

“Kirkwood’s bari-sax broke from the gate like a raging bull out to get him some matador for lunch. It roared, it shrieked, it bellowed, it flew around, wild-eyed and snorting.” - Stephen Pederson - Halifax Chronicle Herald

“Kenny's playful rhythmic music is very challenging... performed with ease and energy...very natural and a lot of fun for the audience.” - Michael Occhipinti - Juno-winning bandleader, Artistic director

“The songs give me a lot of images...the melodies are great...the harmonies are really warm....it all just takes you.” - S.D

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Primary Instrument

Voice / vocals

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


30 yrs experience tutoring all ages and levels in voice, sax, piano, percussion, musicianship, improv, voicework, bodywork, instrument technique, songwriting.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Experienced motivational educator with insightful and practical tips. MUSIC CLINICS: Group Skills, Creative Improvisation, Instrument Technique, Songwriting/Composition, business. MUSIC WORKSHOPS: Release Your Inner Musician, Jazz Play, Music Leadership in Community, Children/Youth Music Leadership.

Sonny Rollins
Hamiet Bluiett
saxophone, baritone
Betty Carter
voice / vocals
Steve Coleman
saxophone, alto
Paul Desmond
saxophone, alto
Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Cassandra Wilson
voice / vocals
Stevie Wonder
Earth, Wind & Fire

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