My passion for my Acadian ancestry and musical heritage runs deep within me. My earliest recollection of playing was at the age of 5 when my parents invited a travelling accordian salesman into our kitchen at our home in Hamilton, Ontario. He asked me to try to play the instrument and then when I finished, I remember him telling my parents how talented I was, etc, etc. We never did buy that accordian but I was hooked.
My parents are both Acadians born in Prince Edward Island, Canada – my mother came from a family of 14 and my father came from a family of 13. Almost all of them played a musical instrument. Every family gathering was music-filled with almost everyone playing something – fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, piano, spoons. You either played an instrument, sang or step-danced – and sometimes both or all at once!
I have vivid memories of gathering in my maternal grandparents’ living room and there would a huge circle of musicians playing jigs & reels. They always invited the children to step dance in the middle of the circle or play along with spoons or some sort of percussion instrument. It was heaven on earth to me – I couldn’t wait to get in the middle and dance my little heart out. My feet would be flying but not to any recognizable stepdance move – that was not one of my strong points. But I didn’t care – the music lifted me up off the floor and my soul soared to the rhythm of those Acadian tunes. I picked up the spoons and played them till I had dents in my fingers.
Fast forward to my current new show “I’m An Acadian-Canadian, Eh!” where I share my rich Acadian heritage with an English-speaking audience who don’t know much about this little known Canadian history. I tell stories about my family, sing songs I have written, play harmonica, the spoons and even do a little step dancing.
But my path was not a straight one from my musical childhood to my current life as a singer/songwriter/recording/performing artist. I left high school and worked in Ottawa both in the civil service and on Parliament Hill from 1976-1989. My jobs included working for a Cabinet Minister, Members of Parliament and Senators.
I quit my day job in 1989 to become a full time musician and worked throughout Eastern Ontario singing cover songs in bars, restaurants, lounges, conferences, etc.
Then in 1993, I decided to record my first album of original material and had dreams & aspirations of touring across Canada & around the world. Then I promptly got pregnant. I released my debut album in September 1994 & gave birth to my daughter in December 1994.
I was at a crossroad – do I tour the new album & bring her along with me or leave her at home with babysitters to raise her (my husband worked out of town at the time). I decided to become a full time Mom and play my music in between raising my daughter.
Along the way, I sang my original song “This Is My Canada/Mon cher Canada” for our Olympic athletes in Salt Lake City (2002) & Athens, Greece (2004); my anthem “Women of the World” in Helsinki, Finland to open the Business & Professional Women International World Congress (2011) to name but a few interesting gigs over the years.
8 independently released albums later, my daughter is currently in 2nd year University and now I am almost finished my 9th album (children’s songs) and travelling extensively doing shows.
My musical genre is folk/pop, Acadian, and song themes include women’s issues, social causes, humourous life moments, patriotic & inspirational/motivational messages.