Connie (Isabelle) Kaldor. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, b Regina 9 May 1953; BFA (Alberta) 1975, hon DFA 2009. Connie Kaldor sang at the Regina Folk Festival in her teens but initially pursued a professional career in the theatre, studying dramatic arts at the University of Alberta, performing at the Théâtre Passe Muraille (Toronto) and the 25th Street House (Saskatoon), and appearing on radio and TV. She left the theatre for music in 1979, touring the prairies with Heather Bishop that year, singing at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1980, and undertaking her first national tour in 1981.
Making her home in turn in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Winnipeg during the 1980s, and settling in Montreal in 1990, Kaldor has been a favourite on the folk festival and concert circuit for her unabashedly bold performance style, easy and irreverent sense of humour, darkly passionate singing, and varied catalogue of love songs, historical and contemporary Canadian narratives, social commentary, and feminist material. Beginning with her initial appearances in the US in the early 1980s at McCabe's (Santa Monica), Folk City (New York) and elsewhere with Stan Rogers and on her own, she has toured there on a regular basis - eg, at mid-decade in the company of Bim (Roy Forbes) and in 1991 with Ferron and James Keelaghan. She made her first European appearances in 1989. Kaldor has given as many 200 shows a year - she performed some 150 times in a variety of settings at Expo 86 - and has sung often for children's audiences.
In addition to her own LPs One of These Days (1981, Coyote CR-1001), Moonlight Grocery (1984, Coyote CR-1002) and Gentle of Heart (1989, Oak St OSL-019), she collaborated with Bim on New Songs for an Old Celebration (1985, Aural Tradition ATR-109), a collection of traditional and original Christmas material). With Carmen Campagne, she made Lullaby Berceuse (1988, Oak St OSL-011, a collection of lullabies in English and French that received a Juno Award in 1989 as best children's album. Two of Kaldor's later children's albums also received this award, in 2004 and 2005.
Kaldor's best-known songs include 'Bird on a Wing,' 'Maria's Place,' 'Wood River,' 'Wanderlust,' 'Gentle of Heart,' and 'I Go Out Walking.' Her 'Strength, Love and Laughter' has been an important song in Canadian feminist music; 'Bellybutton' (the title song of a Bishop album) has been popular with children's audiences. Kaldor has had her songs or music used in several films (eg, the National Film Board's Prairie Women, 1986, and the independent One Hit, 1990), on CBC TV's 'Fred Penner's Place,' and in dance (Jo Lechay's Absolute Zero, 1991). Among other artists to record her songs are Forbes (their collaboration 'Love or Something'), Ronnie Gilbert, Priscilla Herdman, Hart Rouge (the 1991 Quebec hit 'C'est elle,' for which she wrote the music), Garnet Rogers, Sally Rogers, and several children's performers. In 2007 Kaldor was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.