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Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley

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  • Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Years Active: 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Diana Braithwaite is an authentic singer who has surfaced in the 2000s as not only a fine contemporary female vocalist, but one of very few Canadian based blues women. Born into a musical family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Braithwaite's relatives from her mothers side arrived in the north country from the southern United States via the underground railroad. Her father was born Montreal, and faced discrimination and difficulty finding the kind of work he desired, eventually riding his bicycle collecting scrap metal, before the family was given an acre of rocky land to farm in the Glenallen area. She gravitated to singing by listening to acoustic, Delta style blues or country & western recordings. Her first group experience was with brothers Victor and Cecil and sister Charlane's band, while a breakaway solo career came about in her teenage years. Opening for John Lee Hooker at the Brunswick House in Toronto with the Chaser Blues Band, Braithwaite introduced her talent as a professional blues singer. Later on, Albert Collins invited Braithwaite on the road as a warm-up act for his band, then she followed up with collaborations including guitarists Mel Brown and Jeff Healey, and Eddy Clearwater, T-Model Ford, Robert Cray, Tracy Chapman, Big Bill Morganfield, Pinetop Perkins, and Buddy Guy. In 1999, Braithwaite was chosen by Sarah McLachlan to open the Canadian version of Lilith Fair. As a solo artist, she recorded the album Carry My Name, and teamed with guitarist/cornetist/harmonicist Chris Whiteley to produce the acclaimed duet CDs Morning Sun (2007) and Night Bird Blues (2009,) both for the Electro-Fi label, tributes to vintage rural acoustic blues music of the 1930s and '40s. She is a recipient of the African-American Women In The Arts Award in Chicago, IL, while her original blues songs "Bad Luck Man" and "Blame It on the Bourbon" were featured on the soundtrack for the Gemini-award winning film Gracie, which received the Yorkton Golden Sheaf Award for Best Musical Score.