Ken Medema Profile
From the time Ken Medema was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1943, he has been unable to see with his physical eyes. His Sight is limited to distinguishing between light and darkness and seeing fuzzy outlines of major objects. "As a kid I was not widely accepted," he says, "and I spent a lot of time by myself. Because I have lived with some degree of being different all my life, I have some sympathy for people who have been disenfranchised, whether they have been disabled or politically oppressed or whatever."
Music became an early major component of Medema`s life. "I started banging on the piano when I was five years old," he says, "making up crazy little fantasies on my mom`s piano. When I was eight years old my parents got me a wonderful teacher who taught me the classics with Braille music and taught me to play by ear. And every time I learned a piece my teacher would tell me, "Now you improvise." So music became a second language."
After graduating from high school Medema studied music therapy at Michigan State University in Lansing, where he concentrated heavily on performance skills in piano and voice. He worked as a music therapist in Fort Wayne, Indiana, returned to Michigan Stater for a master`s degree (1969) then worked for four years as a music therapist as Essex County Hospital in New Jersey. It was while employed that he began writing and performing songs his own songs.
In 1973 Medema left his work as a therapist and began a career as a performing and recording artist. He recorded albums for Word and Shawnee Press, then in 1985 founded Brier Patch Music. Brier Patch is an independent recording, publishing, and performance-booking company with headquarters in Grandville, Michigan. Brier Patch is named after Brier Rabbit`s home in the Uncle Remes stories. Brier Patch creates musical expressions that celebrate all aspects of the human experience, with an emphasis on spirituality and such universal concerns as peace, justice, hunger, homelessness, and the environment.
Today, Medema performs in a wide variety of venues, from local congregations to charity fund-raisers, to corporate conventions, to high school and university campuses, to major youth gatherings, to universally televised religious programs, to annual assemblies of national organizations.
Ken Medema and his wife Jane have been married since 1965 and live in the San Francisco Bay area of California. They have two grown children, Rachel and Aaron, a daughter-in-law Sonya, a granddaughter Charlotte and a grandson Henry.