Photography by ?
“A masterful performer, wildly funny one moment,
deeply personal the next.”
The Boston Globe
“Love is A Truck-…is one of her best; immediate, warm,
and graced with eloquence, insight and sweet humour.
The Ottawa Citizen
Small Café-…is full of Kaldor’s insights into the human condition.
It is also perhaps her best music.
“…quirky, often wickedly funny”
“A musical bard whose music and lyrics have diverse
appeal…She’s tough and she’s tender. She sings with
love and with anger…indecently talented.”
The Toronto Star
Biography #1 (long)
Saskatchewan, 1953; Connie Kaldor is born into a May blizzard that hits Regina on the heels of a heat wave. Her life has been a study in contradictions ever since, but this is a woman who weathers the changes. There’s no doubt, she’s prairie to the bone.
Music was a fact of life for Connie from the start. Her mother swears she sang from the cradle. She developed her range every Sunday in the local church choir, where Dad directed. Mom and Connie’s twin sisters played piano, and her brothers played guitar, tuba and trumpet.
In school Connie pursued her love of performing arts with a theatre degree from the University of Alberta in 1976. She went on to work with alternative theatre companies the Mummers in Newfoundland and Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, but ultimately it didn’t leave enough time for the music.
In 1979 she left theatre to pursue her musical career full time, setting out to blaze a trail on the Canadian folk scene (at places like the very first Canmore Folk Festival) with friend and then manager Jarol Boan. She packed her suitcase full of theatrical wisdom, threw her guitar into the back seat of an old Ford and she’s been on the road ever since. Female singer songwriters were somewhat unusual in those days, but nonetheless Connie sang solo and played guitar and piano herself; and broke with tradition even further by talking and joking with her audience, breaking down the wall that often separates spectator from performer. Her seamless combination of musical skill and engaging repartée still sets her apart today.
In 1981 Connie established an independent record label, now called Coyote Entertainment. She has recorded 15? albums. In 1983 she joined Fleming and Associates, a major independent acoustic music agency, and by the following year was headlining folk festivals across the country. Performing along side talents such as Stan Rogers, Ferron, Valdy, Roy Forbes and Stringband, Connie’s music contributed to a newly emerging and distinctly Canadian sound.
Connie has toured extensively ever since, bringing her music all over North America and to India, China and Europe as well. She has shared the stage with innumerable artists, including Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman, Sylvia Tyson, the Chieftains, and Daniel Lanois. In 1984 she received a Most Promising Female Vocalist Juno nomination for her album Moonlight Grocery, and Lullaby Berceuse took home Best Children’s Album in 1989, as well as the 1990 U.S. Parents Choice Award. She took Best Children’s Album again in 2004 with a new book/cd format entitled A Duck in New York City. In 2000 Love is a Truck was nominated for a Juno in the Folk Roots category.
This versatile performer also penned the prairie musical ‘Dust and Dreams’, and has written music for both dance and theatre productions. She co-wrote and performed the theme song to the animated television show ‘For Better or For Worse’, which debuted on Canada’s Teletoon network in 2000.
In 2002 she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the arts in Canada.
In 2003, Connie hosted Connie Kaldor @ Wood River Hall, a thirteen part television series showcasing Canada’s finest folk and roots music performers. The title of the show is taken from what is probably Connie’s best known song, Wood River, from the 1992 album of the same name. Considered by many to be the quintessential Saskatchewan tune, it was named one of the top Canadian songs by Canadian Geographic Magazine. Recorded live, the show presents a rich variety of music, from the extraordinary songs of Bruce Cockburn and Sylvia Tyson, to James Keelaghan, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, The Duhks, the Wailin’ Jennies and more. Look for broadcast times and dates at www.visiontv.ca (still?)
Her 2005 c.d. Sky with Nothing to Get in the Way is full of pure prairie imagery, and seems an apt release for the year in which she sang at the Saskatchewan Centennial for her Majesty Joni Mitchell as well as the Queen of England.
In recognition of her contributions to Canadian culture, in 2007 Connie received the Order of Canada. That year she was also honoured with an alumni award from the University of Alberta. Connie has also recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Performance/Fine Arts from the University of Regina.
The new album, Postcards from the Road, has just been completed and is sure to be a favourite with fans new and old.
Married in 1990 to music producer and Hart Rouge member Paul Campagne, the couple live in Montréal, Québec with their two sons, Gabriel and Aleksi, who show signs of being as talented as their parents.
Biography #2 (med.)
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Connie Kaldor has been performing for most of her life. Born into a musical family, she grew up singing in the choir.
Her love of performing led her to a theatre degree from the University of Alberta, and then to alternative theatre companies such as the Mummers and Theatre Passe Muraille, an influence still very much in evidence at any Connie Kaldor concert. Although she left theatre to pursue her songwriting career quite early, her engaging character and storytelling skills are hallmarks of her live performances.
In 1981 Connie established an independent record label, now called Coyote Entertainment. She has recorded 14 albums. By the mid nineteen-eighties she was headlining folk festivals across Canada and the U.S.A.
Connie has toured extensively ever since, bringing her music all over North America and to India, China and Europe as well. She has shared the stage with innumerable artists, including Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman, Sylvia Tyson, the Chieftains, and Daniel Lanois. In 1984 she received a Most Promising Female Vocalist Juno nomination for her album Moonlight Grocery. In 2000 Love is a Truck was nominated for a Juno in the Folk Roots category. Her books and music for children music have won numerous awards including Best Children’s Album (1989), U.S. Parents Choice Award (1990), and Best Children’s Album (2004).
Small Program Bio. #3
Connie Kaldor is a Juno award winning artist who has sung for royalty (Joni Mitchell, the Queen) and is a member of the Order of Canada. Her touring has taken her across North America and around the world. She has fourteen albums to her credit; three award winning children’s books/cd’s, a musical and much more. Her original songs and riveting performances evoke the powerful and unique presence of the Canadian prairies. Witty and serious, down-home and metropolitan, her versatility and talent ensure that she is an artist whose fan base expands with every show.
May 27, 2000
Canada’s Kaldor ‘Trucks’ On With Coyote Set
by Larry Leblanc
One of Canada’s most significant contemporary folk performers over two decades, Connie Kaldor has a typically wry comment to make about “Love Is A Truck,” the compelling title track of her latest album. “You have no idea,” she quips, “the sacrifices I’ve made in my early career choosing an appropriate mate so I could write that tune.”
The album was released April 20 in Canada by the 46-year-old singer/songwriter’s own label, Coyote Entertainment Group, distributed nationally by Festival Distribution of Vancouver. Like Joni Mitchell, Saskatchewan-born Kaldor hails from Canada’s western prairie region, a fact underscored by the album package’s use of evocative photos of the area by acclaimed photographer Courtney Milne, taken from his recent book “W.O. Mitchell Country” (McLelland & Stewart), as well as the inclusion on the album of such region-influenced songs as “Whistle Gone” and “Wind That Laughs.”
The Canadian prairie region-consisting of the Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta provinces-is the land “where underwear goes beneath your ankles,” jokes Kaldor. Regarding touring there in the winter, when temperatures plummet below -20 C, she adds, “wait until you go from Thunder Bay (Ontario) to Lethbridge (Alberta) overnight, and you can’t let the car stop because it won’t start again.”
Today, however, Kaldor lives east in Montreal with her husband, Paul Campagne of French-language family group Hart Rouge (Billboard, May 24,1997), and two sons. “I think you are always a prairie girl,” she muses. “I do miss it, because it’s such an extraordinary place. Visually, it’s so stimulating. While there I write like crazy.”
Kaldor arrived on the music scene with the ’70s Canadian folk wave, which included such notables as Stan Rogers, Roy Forbes, Ferron, Heather Bishop, and Spirit Of The West. She has since recorded nine albums and had her songs featured in such critically acclaimed Canadian films as “Hard Core Logo” and “Over Canada.”
“We are huge Connie Kaldor fans here,” says Janet York, VP of film music at S.L. Feldman & Associates in Vancouver, who chose Kaldor’s music for the films.
“She is a fabulous folk writer.”
“She’s one of Canada’s great entertainers,” says Jack Schuller, president of Festival Distribution. “So charming and funny.”
“Connie’s a great performer,” agrees Canadian folk music matriarch Sylvia Tyson, who first found success in the’60s with duo Ian & Sylvia. “She’s had acting training, and she really puts drama into her performances. She also has a wicked sense of humour.”
While Kaldor’s catalogue is filled with commendable albums, “Love Is A Truck” is unquestionably her finest work. “It has taken me a while to realize what I do and what I’m trying to say,” she confesses. “It has also taken time to realize what elements worked best for me in the studio. All of my career I kept trying to recreate on record what I do live. With this recording, the most important thing is the songs and the vocals.”
Kaldor’s album encompasses folk, jazz, country, and the Quebec-based chanson genre; its’ themes primarily concern matters of the heart and separation, but there are also whimsical songs like “Never Been To Ireland,” “Jump Over The Moon” and the acoustic-based “Wheels Like A Chevrolet.” “It’s been hard to get a consistency in my recordings, because I write such diverse material,” says Kaldor “I was always trying to do everything on the albums. For this album we picked songs which went together. We wanted it to flow well from beginning to end.”
Festival Distribution has overseen distribution of the bulk of Kaldor’s Coyote catalogue. These include the albums “One Of These Days” (1981), “Moonlight Grocery” (1984), “Wood River” (1992), “Out Of The Blue” (1994), and “Small Cafe” (1996). Kaldor also released the Christmas album “New Songs For An Old Celebration” (1985) with Roy Forbes on Aural Tradition. Additionally, she made two albums for the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Oak Street label: “Lullaby Berceuse” (1988) with Paul Campagne’s sister Carmen, which won a Juno Award for best children’s recording, and “Gentle Of Heart” (1989).
Schuller describes Kaldor’s catalogue sales as being “steady” despite having limited commercial radio airplay in Canada. He adds, “Wood River” has been the best seller at about 25,000 copies. We still sell about 100 copies a month.
“Love Is A Truck,” according to Kaldor, is off to a promising start. “We’ve had 4,000 advance orders, which is quite good for an indie,” she says.
“I just programmed the album into our listening posts,” notes Stewart Duncan, music buyer at the Indigo Books Music & Cafe chain, which operates 14 stores in Ontario. “It will interest buyers who are interested in folk. There are few Canadian folk artists other than Connie who have been doing performances as long for a living.”
While “Small Cafe” was released by Rounder Records in the U.S. and Denmark, Kaldor’s albums are primarily available outside Canada only as imports. As of yet, there are no international release plans for “Love Is A Truck.”
Kaldor was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her musical career began at an early age with her singing with her four siblings in the local Lutheran church choir. After studying theatre at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, and working in the avant-garde group Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, she hit the folk circuit in 1979. “It was an exciting time,” recalls Kaldor. “I opened for singer Stan Rogers all over the U.S. until his death (a 1983 air crash).”
Kaldor’s diverse musical stance was shaped by those early days of sharing stages and workshops with artists from around the world. “I couldn’t have invented a better musical education for myself” she says. “I heard great folk singers, great blues artists, as well as an abundance of African and South American music.
Encouraged by the example of Winnipeg folk singer Heather Bishop, Kaldor independently released “One Of These Days” in 1981. “I was an independent from the get-go, mostly because there was no other way,” she says “Most Canadian record companies then wanted to know what American you sounded like – for a woman, they wanted you to pound a tambourine and sing ‘Proud Mary’.”
Kaldor credits her longevity to ceaseless touring. In December 1990, for example, she gave birth but three months later was back on the road throughout the year for a North American tour followed by dates in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and India with newborn son in tow. “I’ve always had this great touring life,” she says. “It’s kept me alive, because people show up and then buy my records.”
Kaldor will spend much of this summer touring the U.S “The demand for Connie has grown,” reports her agent, Jim Fleming of Fleming Artists in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The word has spread about her being an excellent performer and being a great songwriter and singer.”
2009 (Late Fall) Postcards From the Road
2005 Sky With Nothing to Get in the Way
2004 A Poodle in Paris
2003 Vinyl Songbook
2003 A Duck in New York City
2000 Love is a Truck
1996 Small Café
1994 Out of the Blue
1992 Wood River
1989 Gentle of Heart
1988 Lullaby Berceuse. With Carmen Campagne
1986 New Songs for an Old Celebration ( with Roy Forbes)
1984 Moonlight Grocery
1981 One of These Days