The Valley Arts Award is presented to someone who has made a significant, long-term contribution to the Arts in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. This year’s winner is Ken Shorley – a diverse percussionist who specializes in the hand drumming traditions of the Middle East and India. Though he’s been based in Wolfville for over 20 years, his musical passions have taken him around the globe. Ken is also an avid player and teacher of Indonesian gamelan music. His ensemble, Mindful Flower Gamelan, is the first of its kind in the Maritimes and performs traditional and contemporary music for gamelan degung. The group’s first recording, featuring new gamelan music by Canadian and Indonesian composers, is currently in post-production.
In recent years, Ken has been a featured performer at the Halifax Jazz Festival, Sound Symposium, Prismatic Festival, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Sunfest, Mosaiq Festival, here at the Deep Roots Music Festival, and on national broadcasts for CBC Radio 2. Ken is also the co-director of World in Wolfville, a community organization that has, for more than 10 years, focused on presenting world music concerts, workshops, and happenings in the greater Wolfville area. (Watch for a return of their popular “Drum Night” happening this November!).
Some of Ken’s current projects include teaching Gamelan and World Music courses at Acadia University; leading the 10-piece Turko-Balkan dance party band, ORO! Orkestra; composing and touring with his hand-drumming group, Ken Shorley Trio; collaborating with cellist India Yeshe Gailey in the chamber music duo, Bonsai; and sharing the stage with the amazing Nasr sisters (Ariana, Sahara, and Kamila) in the world music ensemble, ASHK.
Ken will receive the 2017 Valley Arts Award at our Festival Finale on Sunday.