By David F. Rooney
It has been years since renowned children’s singer and entertainer Charlotte Diamond has been in Revelstoke and she is looking forward to seeing how the town has changed since she was last year here over 20 years ago.
On Friday, September 30, she is holding a workshop for teachers and on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm she is holding a concert for families with young children at the Performing Arts Centre.
Diamond has something in common with at least one Revelstokian. Like former mayor Geoff Battersby she received a phone call from Rideau Hall in Ottawa informing her that she has been appointed to the Order of Canada.
“Oh! I’d really love to meet him,” the 71-year-old musician and educator said when a telephone interview on Wednesday, September 28, swung around to the Order of Canada — the highest public honour available to civilians. “All the things you do help built a sense of community.”
Many of the sings she writes, such as a new one called Connected talks about the things you can do to make a difference. “It’s about precisely that,” she said because that’s how you keep a strong community. “You don’t have to be an expert or a star.”
That’s an excellent life message for children who often seem to lose direction as they age. Charlotte has no doubt seen a lot of that as a parent and a teacher. She thinks that remaining positive is tough but by no means impossible. Music is clearly an important part of her life.
Charlotte was introduced to music at an early age and maintained her interest in it all through it. Born and bred in BC, she sang with local folk groups, including performing intro sets for Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton.
When her own children came along, she began singing and writing songs for them and also developed a preschool music program in her community. This led to performances for her children’s parent-participation preschool, which mushroomed into requests for workshops, school concerts, and family shows around Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.
Charlotte formed her Hug Bug Band and proceeded with the independent production and release of 10 Carrot Diamond, which won a Canadian Juno Award in 1986. Her career turned professional and international overnight, and 10 Carrot Diamond became a Gold Record in Canada.
A frequent headliner for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, she is best known for favourites like:
- Four Hugs a Day;
- I am a Pizza (Je suis une pizza, Soy una pizza)
- Octopus (Slippery Fish)
- La Bamba
- All the Nations Like Banana; and
- Dicky Dinosaur.
Her popular song, Octopus (Slippery Fish), was published in 2013 as a children’s board book, titled “Slippery Fish in Hawai’i.”
Charlotte is often accompanied by her son, Matt Diamond, who is launching his own career in family music. In the fall of 2015, Matt and Charlotte released their new CD, Diamonds by the Sea, to rave reviews.
Charlotte presently has 14 recordings, including 24 Carrot Diamond – The Best of Charlotte Diamond, which features 24 of her best-known songs, recorded over the past 25 years. She also has two nationally televised videos, and two music/resource books.
She is trilingual and has three recordings in French (Bonjour l’hiver, Nous sommes tous comme les fleurs, and Qu’il y ait toujours le soleil), and two in Spanish (Soy una Pizza and Todo el Mundo Come Banana!).
In addition to winning the Juno Award for 10 Carrot Diamond, Charlotte has a string of other awards and accomplishments, including five Parents’ Choice Awards, three American Library Association Awards, and Juno Award Nominations for Best Children’s Recording for both Charlotte Diamond’s World and Nous sommes tous comme les fleurs (in French).
She tours throughout Canada and the United States, and has also had three concert tours to Costa Rica, on the invitation of that country’s First Lady, UNICEF, and the Canadian Embassy.
Charlotte was honoured to be appointed as a member of the Order of Canada in 2016 “for her contributions as a children’s entertainer who, through song and music, helps to develop creativity and self-expression in youth.” In addition, she was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal “in recognition of her exemplary support of UNICEF,” and was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, “in appreciation of significant assistance given to the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”
Her music, as well as being lively and singable, inspires children to care for each other and to celebrate the diversity of our cultural mosaic with songs like Leave the World a Little Better. Charlotte’s concerts are fun for kids, but parents and grandparents will be captivated by her music as well.