Learning through music
Connie Kaldor’s love of the prairies knows no bounds. She has drawn inspiration from the vast open spaces, and clear summer skies for many of her songs. She paints a world of wind-swept country roads winding across a land where once the buffalo roamed, and where now dwell a wide array of plants, animals and birds. In and around this beautiful countryside, are little jewels for you to uncover. Come now, travel with Connie and discover what she thinks is most distinctive about prairie life.
Though Connie hails from a place that she herself has referred to as “harsh and unforgiving”, she has also celebrated much of what is beautiful about this part of the country. In fact, there is a fine little gem tucked away in the southwestern corner of the province called Cypress Hills. The song Sky With Nothing to Get in the Way from the album of the same name was written to a melody that Paul Campagne wrote called The Cypress Hills Waltz. These gorgeous, rolling hills rise up unexpectedly after many miles of amazingly flat landscape. Not only are the hills beautiful to look at, but also they are the highest point in Canada between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador. When the French voyageurs traveled to Cypress Hills 200 years ago, they thought that the forests of lodge pole pine in the area looked a lot like the jack pines back home in Eastern Canada, and thus named the hills, “Montagnes de Cypres.” “Montagnes” is French for mountains, and “Cypres” is French for jack pine. And so, ironically, the hills are named for a jack pine tree that is not even remotely close-by!
Connie recalls, “The Cypress Hills are quite unusual. I visited them when I was small and visiting relatives that lived in Frontier Saskatchewan. That whole area is fascinating. They have discovered Dinosaur Skeletons and in fact, they are excavating a new dinosaur in the town of Climax, Saskatchewan. The Glacier missed the area of the Cypress Hills and there are plants there that you don’t see anywhere else. That whole corner of the province is very interesting. I can remember driving along the prairies in that area and you would go down into a coolie that was like a small valley cut into the prairies. There would be ferns and snakes and plants that were more exotic than the prairie plants we were used to. I also remember seeing the exquisite Pronghorn Antelope, prancing so gracefully across the hills without a care in the world!”
Click on Connie’s wonderful Prairie Lullaby, full of images of “coolies and sloughs”,
and the sun turning “golden and red in the west.”
Photography by ?
The Pronghorn Antelope
The Pronghorn Antelope, sometimes referred to as the prairie ghost is the fastest land mammal in North America. It can run up to 100 km (62 miles) an hour, and can easily outrun any animal that tries to overtake it. It is smaller than the white-tailed deer, and the large eyes that protrude from each side the Pronghorn Antelope’s head is believed to provide a wide angle vision comparable to that of a man looking through 8-power binoculars.
visit this site www.srd.alberta.ca
Illustration by ?
Click on any picture to enlarge
Teachers, feel free to print out the drawings for use in your classroom.
You have our permission!
Connie also has a song called Maria’s Place that talks about the Riel Rebellion. You might have heard it at the visitor’s center at Batoche or in a theatre production. She used to wander the hills along the river near Batoche and imagine the piece of history that was played out along the banks.
Songs for Kids
Although Connie Kaldor does not do many shows for children, she has written many children’s’ songs. She has two boys and many nieces and nephews and she would write songs to amuse them or put them to sleep. Her Album, Lullaby Berceuse won a Juno and a Parents’ Choice Award for Best Children’s Album, and many of her children’s songs have been recorded by others. Heather Bishop has several of Connie’s songs on her award winning children’s’ albums. Carmen Campagne, popular Quebec Children’s Performer, has used Connie’s songs on her best-selling albums as well. They have been chosen for television shows and children’s songbooks.
Connie released a CD/Book in October 2003 called A Duck in New York City. Connie tells the story of a little prairie duck with a big idea – making it on Broadway. It’s a long shot, and New York’s very far away. Luckily, a truck-driver named Big Betty comes along, offers him a ride, and gives him that extra little boost he needs to fulfill his dream!
Check out the release in discography A Duck in New York City
In 2004 she released another CD/Book called A Poodle in Paris.
The main character is a poodle called La Grande Fifi.
A wonderful husband and wife team called Fil and Julie illustrates both of these books. If you look closely you will see that they are collages. There are drawings and real things like buttons and feathers. The collages were then photographed to make the pages of the story.
All of these albums can be found at www.thesecretmountain.com