About Connie Kaldor
Just when you think youve got it all figured out, something roars in and it turns you about.
Connie Kaldor wrote this and more about the unexpected twists and turns of life and love for her latest album Love is a Truck. She could well have been writing about her personal artistic complexities. Music pundits have tried to define the essence of the prairie-born acoustic performer for over two decades but even the most eloquent have fallen short of perfection.
Fact is, Connie Kaldor is a performer without borders. A contradiction in terms. She is a Juno-award winning singer who has flourished on the folk music scene for over two decades yet her repertoire of original material blurs musical boundaries, embracing elements of gospel, rock, country and western, folk, blue grass and adult contemporary.
She is an artist of substance without pretension, witty and urbane without condescension. She is a fearless chronicler of the human experience without the folksong angst. She has recorded nine albums, sold tens of thousands of copies, but has never had a commercial hit.
Her live performances are legendary and her fan base broad and fiercely loyal. People come back to see her again and again because a Connie Kaldor performance is about more than just the power of music. It is also about the power of personality. What she says between songs is as intriguing as the lyrics she sings.
She has travelled prairie backroads to visit modest community centres and sold out concert halls in major cities. From Bejing to New Dehli to Saskatoon to Washington, Connie has triumphed with a mix of song and spoken word honed in pacing and tone by the many years she spent performing.
Like many prairie girls in the 5os and 6os, Connie grew up singing in the church choir and listening to Patsy Cline and The Beatles on her record player. But it wasnt until the 1980s after four years spent performing with an avant garde theatre company in Toronto that Connie turned to music full time and was welcomed by the folk scene.
A musical bard whose music and lyrics have diverse appeal-appropriated for everything from anger management workshops for men to economic news letters to soundtracks for film. “Shes tough and shes tender. She sings with love and with anger indecently talented. ” Toronto Star.
A masterful performer, wildly funny one moment, deeply personal the next. The Boston Globe
Connie Kaldor was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1953 during a May blizzard on the heels of a heat wave. She’s been a study in contradictions ever since.
The music was always there. Her mother swears baby Connie sang from the cradle. Dad was the choir director at the local Lutheran church, mom played the piano, older brother played guitar and tuba, younger brother played the trumpet, and older twin sisters played piano. Singing in the church choir every Sunday gave Connie the opportunity to test her range and it was evident from the beginning that the voice was there for the asking. But music was not her initial career of choice.
Following a brief and unfulfilling stint as a high school cheerleader, Connie chose to pursue a theatre career. She graduated with a theatre degree from the University of Alberta in 1976 and set out to practice her craft with alternative theatre companies including the Mummers in Newfoundland and Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille. Although the thrill of creating productions from original scripts penned by company members was fierce, she began to miss music.
In 1979 she experienced an epiphany. She loved theatre but could live without it. She could not imagine living without making music.
Connie packed her suitcase full of theatrical wisdom and independent spirit and set out to blaze a trail on the Canadian folk music scene. This meant heading back to her beloved western Canada where she hooked up with her good friend Jarol Boan. The two piled into an old Ford, she became her manager of the moment, and they headed out to break into the folk festival circuit.These were the folk days of long-locked young women wearing homemade sundresses and open-toed sandals singing about love lost, pain endured and the beauty of communal life and bread freshly baked. Connie knew how to bake bread but her fashion sensibilities leaned more towards leather skirts and cowboy boots and her repertoire of songs poked fun at jerks and championed the cowgirl.
In a time when a female singer and songwriter was a rare bird indeed, Connie sang solo and played guitar and piano. She spoke directly to her audience, breaking down the wall that often separates spectator from performer with a seamless combination of musical skill and repartee.
In 1981 she established her own independent record label, now called Coyote Entertainment and has recorded nine albums. In 1983 she joined forces with Fleming, Tamulevich and Associates, one of the major independent acoustic music agencies in North America. And by 1984 Connie was headlining folk festivals across the country. She was part of a wave of Canadian talent,along with Stan Rogers, Ferron, Heather Bishop, Valdy, Roy Forbes and Stringband that was forging a distinctly Canadian sound.
She toured India, China, Europe the United States and has appeared at most major concert venues in Canada. She has shared the stage with artists including Shawn Colvin, Sylvia Tyson, the Chieftains, Daniel Lanois and Tracy Chapman. In 1984 Connie was nominated for a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist for her perfomance on the album Moonlight Grocery.
Her collaboration on the children’s album Lullaby Berceuse with children’s entertainer Carmen Campagne won the Juno Award for Best Children’s Album in 1989 and a U.S. Parents’ Choice Award in 1990. Her song Wood River from the same-named album, released in 1992, is considered the quintessential Saskatchewan song. She has written music for both dance and theatre productions and in 1996 Connie merged her love of theatre and music to create the prairie musical Dust and Dreams.
Connie co-wrote and performed the theme song for the animated television show based on Lynn Johnston’s popular comic strip, For Better or For Worse,which debuted on Canada’s Teletoon network in 2000. That same year her album Love is a Truck was nominated for a Juno in the Folk Roots category.
Connie married music producer and Hart Rouge member Paul Campagne in 1990.They live in Montreal with their two boys Gabriel and Aleksi.