Charlotte Diamond brings back memories

The day I learned to sing, I was in the car on a hot summer day listening to a Charlotte Diamond tape with my mother and sister. We often listened to Ten Carrot Diamond and other Diamond albums in the car, and until this day, we ‘sang’ along delighting in the noise without regard toRead More

The day I learned to sing, I was in the car on a hot summer day listening to a Charlotte Diamond tape with my mother and sister. We often listened to Ten Carrot Diamond and other Diamond albums in the car, and until this day, we ‘sang’ along delighting in the noise without regard to tune or tone.

I remember feeling the wind in my hair as we drove down St. John’s street in Port Moody with our windows rolled down, caterwauling away. Perhaps we had been driving for a while, for my mother turned to my sister and I and with a strained tone asked if we could please try to match our voices to the sounds we heard in the songs. I had never before thought to try to sing like that, and to my surprise, I found it was just as fun to sing nicely as to sing loudly

This and other childhood memories came back with full force today when I saw Charlotte Diamond step up on stage at Arts In The Park in Moody Park and launch into Lucky Streak, Inch By Inch and I Am A Pizza, among other favourites. It was my son’s first live concert (Wesley is two years old) and although he had a great time, I think I was probably the more excited. 

Charlotte Diamond on stage in Moody Park
Charlotte Diamond on stage in Moody Park

 

Stiltwalkers danced while the crowd waited for the performance to begin
Stiltwalkers danced while the crowd waited for the performance to begin

 

Kids flew kites and danced while adults bought hot dogs and baked in the sun
A good turnout of young families at the festival

My mother actually saved all our favourite old tapes, and although the sound is a bit wonky today, we do play them for Wesley from time to time on a combination CD/tape player we bought especially for the purpose. More frequently, he hears her voice via the many fan videos on YouTube. There’s a photo slideshow of all the ingredients in I Am A Pizza, and an ESL flashcard version of Slippery Fish that he finds oddly entertaining.

The most frequent jukebox for Wesley is, of course, me. Singing as sweetly as I know how, I take him through all the classics I remember from my own childhood. More and more often, Wesley ‘sings’ along, barking out the words without thought to tune.

Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

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4 comments

  1. I am glad you and your son had a good time. My son’s first concert was also Charlotte Diamond. Today we actually saw Bobs and Lolo and the Kerplunks. I would recommend them as well as some really good BC children’s entertainers.

  2. We barely squeezed in the concert before naptime. Wesley actually fell asleep in the stroller on our walk back to the van.

    Wesley is now at the point when he can tell when I make up the lyrics, and he will correct me when he thinks I'm wrong. He even chides me when I make small changes like singing "my sweet Wesley" instead of "my fair lady" in London Bridge. He has also started imposing edits of his own. When I sing "Lavender's Blue" he makes me add "… and purple … and orange … and green … and black … and all the colours"

  3. One of the things I’ve noticed since Kale was born, was how much I sing now, how little I (or Kale) cares if I am out of tune, and how much I just make up words to be funny. Two years ago, you couldn’t have paid me to sing out loud in front of people. Now I love it. I was sad we missed this concert, but it was naptime at our house. LOL

  4. I don't know anything about the biography of Charlotte Diamond. Other than her fame as a Folk Singer and Entertainer, that's about it.I'm quite sure though that Charlotte did a brief stint as a substitute teacher in the early 70's. I was a high-school student at NWSS and our permanent French teacher was absent for a couple of days. Our "sub" was a very pretty, short haired brunette with a guitar.I just have flashes of memory, quick bursts of imagery. She had this space between her front teeth I remember so well, 'cause I watched her face as she sang, and she sang alot. She was a very accomplished chantreus and incorporated French music into the class. She had something back then, you could see and hear it!.One class she sang "Amour est bleu". Whenever I hear that song I remember those "hot days" in the early 70's, when I couldn't get to French class fast enough. She asked that we all choose French names. I chose Felix. "Je m'appelle Felix"

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