Singer’s voice weaves an enchanting spell

Music: Jill Barber caps Bragg Creek concert series May 4

By: By Carmen Solana-Martin

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:28 am

Jill Barber, one of Canada’s top female singers, will perform on May 4 at 8 p.m. at the Bragg Creek Community Centre.
Jill Barber, one of Canada’s top female singers, will perform on May 4 at 8 p.m. at the Bragg Creek Community Centre.
Photo submitted

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A charming Canadian chanteuse will use her sultry voice and beautiful music to cast a romantic spell over the creek.

Celebrated Canadian singer and songwriter Jill Barber will perform May 4 at the Bragg Creek Community Centre, the final show of the Bragg Creek Performing Arts spring season.

Barber, 33, is not easily classified musically, and describes her sound as a mixture of blues, jazz, folk and country.

“I have a smoky, folksy, jazz voice and my own sound,” she said. “I sing about matters of the heart and that is at the forefront of my writing.”

As well as timeless romantic torch music, Barber will perform a mix of classic songs, from France and Québec, from her French album Chansons, released in January.

Barber’s performance in Bragg Creek will be the final show of her latest hectic tour schedule.

Taking a much deserved break will not be the only significant change in Barber’s life.

Barber, who has been married for three years to national radio broadcaster Grant Lawrence, is pregnant and expecting her first child this summer.

“Bragg Creek is my last show on this tour,” she said. “As soon as I’m done the show I’m taking five months off, and that’s going to be a significant change for me.”

Excited about the upcoming expansion to her family, Barber said she feels prepared for her new bundle of joy’s arrival.

“I’m grateful that I will receive many hand me downs from friends,” she said. “I just need to buy a stroller.”

This is not the first time Barber has had a major transition in her life.

Barber, a two time Juno nominee, won four East Coast Music Awards for female solo artist of the year and jazz recording of the year for her album Chances in 2009.

The French album Chances, a departure from her previous English albums, came out of Barber’s maturity as an artist, and a musical transformation which gave her the courage to begin singing in French.

Enrolled in a French immersion elementary school as a child, Barber asked her parents to transfer her to an English school in Grade 6.

“I had a personal struggle with French language as a child as I just wanted to read and write in English,” she said. “I didn’t look back until I became an adult.”

One fateful night in 2009, while performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Barber sang live for the first time in French, and her career path changed forever, as she embarked on a new musical journey and began her love affair of French music and culture.

As a Canadian and a performer, Barber said she felt embarrassed to be performing in Quebec in English.

“I was so nervous to sing in French, but the reaction of the audience really encouraged me,” she said. “They really appreciated it and I felt energy from them.”

Barber, who has no formal musical training and has never taken a voice lesson, attended Queens University in Kingston and majored in philosophy and drama.

“I am totally self-taught and all I wanted to do was sing and write songs,” she said. “I admire people that know all the musical theory but I’m not one of them.”

According to Barber, her older brother and musician Matthew Barber taught her how to play the guitar and encouraged her love of music as a youth.

Together they listened to Canadian indie rock albums and developed a love for indie scene.

“I just worshipped my brother growing up and followed in his footsteps,” said Barber. “I started writing songs after he started writing songs.”

Music is not Barber’s only passion.

A self confessed foodie, she said her favourite dessert is dark chocolate with sea salt.

“It’s the best sweet and I totally love it.”

There is a strong connection between music and food, according to Barber, as performers seek out gourmet food as comfort and nourishment while on tour.

“I only eat healthy food and don’t eat fast food,” she said. “Eating good food, such as fish and veggies, keeps performers healthy and happy.”

Barber said her lifelong goal is to continue to perform and make music.

She has toured internationally in Europe, Australia, the United States, and Mexico, and wants to continue to see the world as a performer.

“I also want continue to tour more extensively,” she said. “While I love Canada, I am really interested in touring in other countries to see the world.”

Barber’s May 4 show will be held at the Bragg Creek Community Centre, 23 White Avenue, Bragg Creek. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $38 for adults, $36 for seniors (55 and over) and $28 for youth (six to 17).

To purchase tickets go online to or call the BCPA ticket hotline at 403-949-4114.

Tickets are also available from the Bragg Creek Community Centre staff by calling 403-949-4277.

For more information on Jill Barber go to


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