Mourning award-winning children’s entertainer and alumna Carmen Campagne
The University of Manitoba mourns one of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, alumna [B en Ed/89] Carmen Campagne, 58, who died of cancer on July 4. The francophone composer and performer, originally from southern Saskatchewan, was the first French-language entertainer to receive a Juno Award for Best Children’s Recording—an award she shared in 1989 with sister-in-law Connie Kaldor for their collection of homespun bilingual songs, Lullaby Berceuse.
One of seven children who grew up singing around the piano, Campagne began her career singing with her siblings in the family folk group Folle Avoine, which evolved into the folk-rock band, Hart-Rouge. After earning an education degree from Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface (now Université de Saint-Boniface, affiliated with University of Manitoba), in 1989, Campagne taught in an elementary school for six years, during which time she developed her talents as a solo artist.
“Carmen Campagne was to French-Canadian children’s music what Fred Penner is to English-Canadian children’s music,” said Francine Morin, professor of music and arts Education, Faculty of Education.
“She produced many high-quality, educational song recordings as she artfully linked her work as a teacher and musician. Carmen wrote many songs that can be integrated into the classroom curriculum and they are used widely in Canadian schools. She has left a rich musical legacy for educators, children, and their families to enjoy for many generations to come.”
Her 11 albums feature both whimsical original songs and traditional folk tunes in French and English, many penned by her brother and sisters. Dubbed by one magazine as the “new diva of francophone children’s music,” Campagne—a mother of three—sold more than a million CDs and DVDs in Canada and France, and is a household name in Quebec. Besides the Juno, she received four Félix Awards in Quebec and a Parent’s Choice Award in the United States. In 2013, she became a member of the Order of Canada.