Jan 062017

retreatThe other day, I asked my husband if he had any New Years Resolutions. He answered in a way that is similar to how I feel. He said, “I feel like I’m continuously working on myself. Not just once a year.”

But, starting the calendar year, there are certainly goals (business, health, financial) I want to attain. I have plans. A lot of them. And from experience, I know that when I get those plans onto paper, something magical happens.

When I was studying Yoga Therapy at  Re:Source I took a workshop with Carina Raisman and Peter Lavoie called Move, Meditate, Manifest. We learned very simple ways to get our desires and goals … organized… so the Universe can help make those things happen. I came up with personal, professional and health goals for 10, 5, 1 years and the present moment. When I looked at my goals a year later, I’d reached all my short term goals and was even as far along as five years in the future with some stuff!

Was it magic? Partly. But as Melanie Richards, the owner of Happy Tree, says (or was it Lisa Lajoie?), “The Universe is not your bitch.” What does that mean? We can set goals, send them out into the ether, but most of the time we’re going to have to work towards bringing things to fruition.

retreat1For me, I like to use a simple chart to get organized, based on what I learned with Carina and Peter. Some people like to create a vision board. There are lots of examples on Pinterest, and my friend, Stephanie is hosting a workshop called CRAFTING YOUR VISION FOR 2017: Exploring Your Life Path through Creative Wisdom on Saturday, January 14, if you would enjoy being guided through the process.

I’ve written before about this subject… The Law of Attraction, as it’s sometimes called. But the thing I keep remembering is that this is a process of Co-creation. That a prayer for something is far less likely to manifest into something real, than if we take real and concrete steps toward attaining our goals.

For me, last year I was working hard to achieve a better work-life balance. I can tell you, that I just got to spend nearly two weeks off with my kids, who were off school for the holiday. Career choices my husband and I have made allow us to do this and I don’t take this for granted for a minute. I also set an intention to consolidate my schedule, minimizing the amount of time I spend running from studio to studio, and I decided I would no longer teach regular classes on the weekend. So that was 2016. What about 2017?

My vision board or my goal setting chart for the year, isn’t something I’m going to post here. It’s something I am putting together and will keep close by to remind myself of where I am, where I’m going, and how I need to get there.

What would you like to feel, create or experience this year? This month? Right now?

I’m hoping that by writing this, you will start to think about doing something similar if you haven’t already. And I’m hoping that if you’re a parent, you help your children understand that they really can do and be anything they want.

Happy New Year!




Dec 302016

I’ve been relishing this winter break. Babe has been in kindergarten since this fall and it’s been a pretty big adjustment for the entire family. One of the biggest changes is that we spend less time together. I find the school day sleddinglong and miss the days when I could easily pick the kids up at 2 or even 12:30. All this to say that we’ve been making the most out of the holidays. We opted for a staycation. We have spent a lot of time colouring, doing crafts, and have even dragged our butts out into the Montreal winter to go sledding, skating and to the zoo.

We haven’t even gotten to the New Year, but I’m seeing so many signs of… Newness. And I’m taking the time to see these things through the eyes of my two children. Everything is brand new to a child.

I laughed, as I watched the kids and their first tobogganing experience. They screamed with a look of pure delight on both of their faces. Elation. I actually hate hurling down a toboggan hill, but watching them do it for the first time, my heart swelled.

skatingI got to see Bug skate for the first time. I watched on his face how proud he was to just find his balance on the ice. Babe learned to spin in circles that same day.

She also recently learned to jump rope and is reading more and more every day. Her excitement when she sounds out a word, is my excitement. She is coming to all of these new experiences on her own terms. With encouragement from her parents, but nothing is forced.

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but I think this year, at least this week, I’m going to try to continue to live life through the eyes of a child. Let everything I do (or at least some of the things!) be done with joy, and awe, and wonder. Want to join me?



Nov 132016

bb2There’s been a bit of a buzz about this new eco-friendly way to wrap things up. Something that’s like cling wrap, but not the least bit wasteful. And to be honest, I thought it was a little too good to be true. But when Margaux, owner of Montreal’s B Factory sent me some of her products, I saw for myself that good things do come in…reusable packaging.

Margaux makes food wraps out of cotton and beeswax. The products she calls sandwich wraps can certainly be used for sandwiches, but chez moi, we use them for so much more. I send Babe to school with crackers, cheese, just about anything wrapped up in a pretty little pouch.

We use  the other wraps, which she calls ‘Food Wraps’ for all kinds of things too. I often use them to cover bowls that I put in the fridge, or salads that I bring to a potluck party. You can use the wraps for any kind of cut fruit or veggie. They help keep cucumbers and fresh herbs fresh. You can use these wraps in place of anything you might want to use a plastic bag or saran wrap.

beeBeeswax has a natural antibacterial property that keeps food fresh, and the product is also breathable. The wraps can eventually be composted, but they have years of life in them. Maintenance is easy beezy, too. You just rinse them in cold water, adding a little soap if you need to. You can store them folded in a drawer, but Margaux suggest rolling them and putting them in a jar on the counter in the beginning, until you remember about this awesome new thing in your kitchen

If you think this is something you’d love to get your hands on, check out the B Factory website, and enter the contest to win. Margaux is generously giving away 1 Starter (16$), 1 Large (18$) and 2 sandwich (13.50$ each). A 51.00$ value.


How to enter:

  1. Like B Factory and mamanaturale on Facebook
  2. Comment on the original Facebook post—why you want to try out this cool new product, and which sandwhich wraps you want. You can choose from the Fall/Winter collection or Pink Dot.
  3. Share!

Good luck!

Oct 062016

How many different versions of Cinderella can you think of? Books, movies, TV, plays, musicals… This story crosses cultures and has many variations. Having a daughter who was, at one time, pretty obsessed with all things princess, I’ve seen my share of Cinderella movies.

placedesartsWhat comes to mind:

  • The Disney Classic, released in 1950
  • Ella Enchanted, which we’ve seen quite a few times, we own the DVD!
  • Drew Barrymore in Ever After, very cool when I was 15
  • A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff (groan)
  • Another Cinderella Story, starring Selena Gomez, which we watched as a family this summer on our trip to PEI and I admittedly kind of got in to.
  • Kenneth Branagh’s 2005 Cinderella, which I thought was beautiful. Also, I love Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Into the Woods, which was opened in Broadway more than 25 years before the amazing movie starring Meryl Streep

Turns out there are THOUSANDS of versions of this story, the earliest of which was published in published in 7 BC.

As far as Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA goes, in 1957, the Original Television Musical, starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, aired on CBS, and was seen by over 100 million viewers. It was a pretty big deal.

Fourty years later, a second TV remake starring Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen and Jason Alexander as Lionel, aired on ABC, winning an Emmy Award.

The Tony-Award winning musical is coming to Montreal and Babe and I can’t wait to go.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that’s delighting audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who’s ever had a dream.

If you’d like to win 4 tickets for the premiere of Cinderella on Tuesday, October 18th, enter this contest by:

Liking mamanaturale on Facebook
Sharing the Facebook post and tagging a friend who might like also like to win.
Leave a comment on the post telling me you’re done! Good luck!

Oct 012016

I recently wrote about how much the kids and I love Jennifer Gasoi‘s newest project, Blue and Red Make Purple. The CD-book is now available! (As of October 1, 2016). I was so happy to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer, and even more stoked to offer a copy of the book to a lucky Mama Naturale reader. Contest rules at the bottom of the page.

Jenny: Many of the children’s artists I’ve been coming across these days are parents. People like Lisa Loeb or Jewel who get into making music for kids because they’re living in that world. As far as I can tell, you don’t have children of your own—what inspired you to perform and record for children?


Photo by Philove

Jennifer Gasoi: I’ve always loved working with kids. I started babysitting at the age of 12, and went on to became a camp counselor, a day camp director, taught piano and voice to children, was a music teacher in daycares, community centers and schools and facilitated mom/baby music groups. I began my career as a jazz musician and singer-songwriter in Vancouver in the early 2000’s. I would play jazz clubs by night and teach music to kids by day. I started writing kids songs for my music classes and decided to record a few of them onto my 4 track. (yes I said it! I’m a 70’s baby) I sent a tape to my 6 year old cousin in Montreal and she didn’t stop listening to it for 2 weeks straight. It was at that point that I realized perhaps I was onto something… and I began writing songs for my first album.

I genuinely love children and care about their well-being. I want to create inspiring, empowering music and experiences for children that spark their imagination, creativity, highlight their uniqueness, and show them that they can follow their heart and passion in life. My children’s songs come from a pure place within my heart, drawing from my own experience of childhood. The wonder, innocence, the beauty, the heart-break too. I write children’s songs from the perspective of little Jennifer, and yet they are infused with the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained as an adult.  Maybe that’s why adults love my music too.

What is your favourite thing about the nature of a child?

The innocence, joyfulness, curiosity, quirkiness and humour. I love their open-heartedness and the fact that they have no filters. There is no censoring or self-consciousness with children, they simply are who they are. They know how to BE. Their essence shines through.  It’s inspiring.

How did the Law of Attraction (or whatever you want to call it) play a role in this beautiful career you have carved out for yourself?

I have always believed that my words, thoughts and intentions have a direct impact on the quality of my life. From a very young age, I would do my best to turn off the radio on a positive word and would end my piano practices on a major chord. Somewhere in my subconscious I was already working with the law of attraction and understood that what I put out into the world would come back to me. Right from the start of my music career I made a decision to stay true to myself, to follow my intuition and guidance, to be the best musician and entrepreneur possible and to always evolve as an artist and human being. Although it has not always been easy, I have stayed true to myself and I have paved a path that has felt honest and authentic. I believe that when we are clear about our intentions, we can more easily attract opportunities, people and situations that resonate with our truth. Having such a strong and clear intention in my life, I have attracted and created amazing experiences. Sometimes I have been very deliberate about what I call into my life and sometimes it has happened more naturally. It all comes down to being mindful, present, heart-centered and aware in my daily life.  It’s a moment to moment practice.

Do you consider yourself a yogi?

I consider myself a fair weather yogi. These days I’m in love with yin and restorative yoga. I have explored many different kinds of yoga over the years from kundalini to power and Hatha.  As I get (slightly) older, I tend to gravitate to yoga classes where I can rest, reflect, and relax my nervous system.

Do you believe in coincidences?

Photo by Philove

Photo by Philove

I like to use the word synchroncity. When I am open to life, in my heart, grounded, centered and feeling “on purpose”,  coincidences or synchronicities have a greater chance of occurring.  If I’m resonating at a high vibration, there is a much greater chance that I will attract beautiful experiences and people into my life.  It takes work to be in this place. It doesn’t happen by chance. I have to work to get into a state of mind/heart where I am not absorbing everything I see, read and feel in the world. When I’m in fear or stressed, there is less chance of these divine occurrences happening. Although there is value in the challenging experiences too. Yoga, meditation, Qi Gong, getting out in nature, working with children and exercise helps me stay on track. The more connected I am within myself, the better my life is in general.  And the more often moments of synchroncity and magic occur.  Here are two fun examples that have happened recently. I have a friend who happens to have a vintage 1960’s light blue mercedes.  A while back she offered to lend it to me for a photo shoot. It just so happens it’s the EXACT car in my book. Here’s another synchronistic moment.  Last week I was on Breakfast Television Montreal talking about my book launch, and it just so happens I was wearing red, the couch we were sitting on was blue and the interviewer was wearing a bright purple shirt. I LOVE these moments. They light me up!

Do you believe in magic?

Yes! It’s what makes my world go round!  I could write a book on the magic I experience on a daily basis.  Hmmm….

blue and redHow did you get involved with Secret Mountain?

This is yet another opportunity to talk about synchronicity. When I first moved to Montreal in 2002 and started researching how to do a children’s album, the first CD that I discovered was “Un Trésor Dans Mon Jardin” by the Secret Mountain. It was full of beautiful songs that kids and adults alike could enjoy. This has become one of the most important aspects of my music- its universal quality.  Not only did I love the songs and arrangements but I was so impressed by the recording quality and the quality of the packaging and design. This was my marker for how I wanted to approach making my own children’s album.  And apparently it worked! I was nominated for a JUNO and won a Gold Parent Choice Award for my debut album Songs for You.  Fast forward 14 years:  After winning the Grammy for Best Children’s Album for Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well, the publisher of the Secret Mountain, Roland Stringer, contacted me and asked if I would like to collaborate on a book/CD. This was a full circle moment.

What can you tell me about putting together the new CD-Book?

Putting this book together was a wonderful experience. It’s the first time I have ever been part of a collaboration with a team. Eureka! Roland and I met last summer and started brainstorming ideas for the book. From day one we had a great rapport, a mutual respect and we agreed upon a concept very quickly. We decided to take 12 of my existing songs and create a fun, interactive musical guide that teaches kids about 12 different genres of music. I wrote the content for the book, giving historical background for each genre, activities and offering incite into how I write songs. I discuss everything from rhythm sections to scatting, to creating didgeridoo sounds.

This was a beautiful team effort – Steve Adams illustrated the book, Ruth Joseph was the editor, Stephan Lori was the creative director and Roland Stringer spear-headed the project. Everyone brought their unique talents to the table to create Blue and Red Make Purple. 

To win your own copy of this amazing new CD-Book,

  1. Like Jennnifer Gasoi
  2. Like Mama Naturale
  3. Leave a comment on this post, telling us your family’s favourite musical genre (and song, if you feel like it!)

The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, October 5. Good luck!

Sep 252016
Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore has been making music since she was a toddler growing up on a horse farm in Vermont. Her childhood was all about choirs, orchestras and chamber groups. During a European tour in college, Eliza says she realized for better or for worse, her life’s purpose was to be a musician.

I’ve been listening to Eliza’s music for a while now, but her brand new release, Brilliance, inspired me to write a word or two about her, hopefully inspiring some of you to check out this artist if you have not already.

Here’s how I met Eliza: I was at the library with my girl, Babe, who couldn’t have been more than two at the time. I noticed a woman with jet-black hair, sparkling eyes and a red T-shirt. She was American. She was a singer and a yoga teacher and I was eves dropping. There was something about this woman that was so captivating. Otherworldly. Or maybe it’s just that she looks more than a little like Jennifer Connolly in the movie Labyrinth. I can say this stuff now without feeling too creepy because I’m blessed to count her as a dear friend.



That day in the library, Babe was running, even though you don’t run in the library. She fell and before I could get to her, a small, blonde angel about her age did. He held out a hand to help her up. It was no surprise that this little guy was raised by that radiant woman. Our kids became friends and Babe seems to be a little smitten three years later.

This boy’s gesture of lending a hand to help up a stranger, is kind of the epitome of who his mother is. Eliza is warm and generous. She’s a free spirit, spiritual and creative. Happy, hopeful, deep and complex. Eliza is love. And her newest album, Brilliance, which she fittingly released on the International Day of Peace, is all these things.

The 14-song digital-only release includes brand new tracks, and new versions of previously released songs. She says she broke a lot of rules releasing these tracks together. It might be hard to count all the people whose work went into this project. It’s Eliza and a melange of producers, sound engineers and musicians. Eliza plays some of the guitar parts, and the violin and all the voice. Some of the vocals was recorded in her Montreal basement, others in New York and Los Angeles.

She says the idea to release these songs in this way, came to her post meditation. “I broke all the rules releasing these tracks together,” she says. “But felt lead to do it from meditation insights.”

Eliza gives big props to her friend Lulu for recently encouraging her commit to a daily meditation practice, admitting that no, not all yoga teachers are in the habit. She says Lulu also pointed her in the direction of Rebecca Campbell’s visualizations.

“Through Rebecca’s visualizations I re-found and am re-finding the power of stillness,” says this busy mom of two. “A true and poignant clarity comes to me when I give myself the space and time to meditate and to open to a sense or feeling of the collective.”

She says it was at one of these moments where she decided to create this compilation record for peace, and at the same moment she realized that these works had grown out of moments of peace.

“Not moments in which I had intended to meditate or surrender into stillness,” she says. “But moments that had almost come to me from life… I like to call them enforced stillness.”

rockfortherivere2mI really love this whole album, and have already added a few songs to my yoga class playlist for the week. My definite favourites include the title track Brilliance, Anointed and Kiss the Heart. I found an earlier recording of Kiss the Heart on SoundCloud ages ago. Eliza told me it was inspired by a quote from her boy, who just turned six. “When it’s dark, will you kiss the heart?” She wrote the song when she was pregnant with her daughter. Her husband and son left for the weekend and Eliza had time alone for the first time in years. She had time to meditate and write. She wrote Kiss the Heart that weekend, and recorded it on piano. The kids and I fell asleep to that lullaby many a night.

When the new recording of Kiss the Heart came on in the car in our way to pick apples, Babe said, “I’m too shy to say this to her face, but could you text Eliza and say that she has the prettiest voice and I’ve never heard a voice that was prettier.”

I did text her that message and also wrote it here because I might just agree with my 5.5 year old.

If releasing an album with multiple producers and sound engineers is breaking the rules, I think Eliza is on to something. Her voice (the sound that comes out of her mouth, but also her whole vision, her whole being)  is strong enough that the album absolutely is cohesive. It’s complete and perfect.

You can buy Brilliance here on iTunes. It can also be found on amazon, spotify and other streaming services.


Sep 192016

Recently, I decided to reclaim my weekends. Between teaching and learning to teach, I’d been away many, many weekends in the past few years. With Babe now in Kindergarten, it was becoming very difficult to spend as much time with my family as I wanted to.

eggs2So I’ve found myself, these days, able to sleep in to at least 7:30! I’ve found myself able to do nothing, do laundry, or go out on a family excursion. I’ve also found myself with time to cook a nice breakfast.

A family favourite is plantain pancakes Paleo Mom style. Bacon and eggs are always a hit.

I recently received the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Grill-Griddle to test out. It’s not something I’m going to take out on our busy bee mornings (did I mention we’re up at 6:20 now). But for our mostly chill weekends, it was perfect.

Some product features:

  • 2 dishwasher safe, PFOA free, nonstick, reversible grids
  • 2 cooking areas with adjustable heat
  • Double-sided grids offer 3 cooking options
  • Center grease channel and dishwasher safe grease tray
  • 180 sq in non-stick cooking surface

The reversible grid is my favourite feature. You can decide if you want two sides of griddle, or grill, or one of each. The machine comes with a handy guide, for which foods are better on which side, and how long the recommend you cook, and at what temperature. It’s pretty fool-proof.

We questioned the practicality of owning this grill. Would it be just another kitchen gadget? I don’t know for sure. But I feel if we make use of it on weekend mornings, it’s going to be worth it. We use the BBQ quite often in the summer, as well, so I’m planning on using this as a nice replacement for veggies, meat, whatever.

grillThis machine is convenient, but it’s not as fast as cooking in the microwave. In case that’s something you like to do. It does that some time for the grill to heat up, but it’s not a slow cooker either. It’s very similar to making bacon and eggs on the stove, plus the added option of the grill.

My husband kind of scoffed, worried clean-up was going to be difficult. Usually whoever cooks, doesn’t clean. But he was very surprised to see how easy clean up was. The drip tray catches all the mess, and washing the griddle and grill took a minute.

Sep 152016
Photo by Melanie Faucher Shanti

Photo by Melanie Faucher Shanti

We pretty much do everything to avoid being uncomfortable, don’t we?  I don’t know about you, but in the summer, I blast the air conditioner. In the winter, the heat. We avoid speaking the truth in a situation for fear that we might become… Uncomfortable.

We can take medication at the slightest discomfort. Even a little headache. This masks the pain and doesn’t get at the root of the issue. But we are afraid of pain. We are afraid of feeling.

But real work, real healing happens, when we acknowledge our pain, discomfort, sadness. We notice it. We observe it. We feel, and we do not ignore.

Many of us are afraid of letting our children be uncomfortable. Which is one reason why, I’m assuming, so many of us stuck in this cycle. Parents can go through great lengths, with the best of intentions, to make sure their child in no way experiences discomfort.

But being uncomfortable is normal.

Being sad, angry and frustrated are normal. 

Crying is healthy.

Everything, of course is relative. And I’m not talking about purposely inflicting pain or suffering on anyone, certainly not our own child. I’m not talking about letting a newborn Cry it Out to build character.

But here’s a situation very familiar to most of us, as moms. If not you, someone you know–a grandparent or a parent in the park:

A child falls and starts crying.

The immediate reaction is to tell the child he or she is okay. To say, “You’re okay, don’t cry.” Probably even more so if the child happens to be a boy. If the child fell and is crying, it’s normal and healthy for her to feel pain and express her emotions. Saying, “shhh, don’t cry, you’re okay,” even with the best of intentions, is harmful. I recommend the movie The Mask You Live in, for more on masculinity, and how this “Man up”  attitude is causing the majority of our problems.

We live in a culture where we repress everything. We’re taught in these playground situations to do exactly that. We grow up, unable to express what we need to. Unable to be comfortable with feeling discomfort. But it comes out, eventually. It manifests as illness. We drink to excess so we can finally say what we should have said, sober. If we valued ourself and knew or feelings were legit.

Vipassana meditation is an amazing way to learn to observe sensations, observe situations, as they are. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter–they’re just sensations and they are not permanent. I love Yin Yoga for the same reason. It’s an opportunity to sit in some potentially uncomfortable positions, equanimously.

So feel your pain. Get uncomfortable. Sit in your shit.

Growth is on the other side.


Sep 042016

treeI was in a yoga class the other day, and the teacher, Bram, was talking about how there’s a certain almost chaotic energy in the air at this time of year. I coudn’t agree more. For me, it’s like blowing wind, or even better, those wasps that are just everywhere these days! So I figure, what better thing to do than head to a yoga class for some R&R…!

My oldest kid just started kindergarten, and her little bro is the new big kid at daycare. Things certainly are changing! I’m keeping myself grounded by doing yoga as daily as possible.

When I’m not momming or my own personal yoga practice this fall, I will, of course, be teaching! Please find below, my Autumn schedule, including Prenatal, Postnatal, Yin and Flow, as well as two super exciting workshops (THIS WEEKEND COMING)

37Atelier – Réintégrez le ventre et le périnée dans la dynamique du corps par le Yoga
This workshop, offered only in French, will help women of all ages heal their diastasis and pelvic floor from a yogic perspective. You’ll learn practical tools and tips, but we’re not just dealing with the physical body here. Yoga, means union. this workshop was a long time in the works and Anne, Melanie and myself are so excited to be offering it.
Sign up is mandatory. You can click on the link above to register or if you’d like more details.
For the pregnant couples out there, our next Couples Yoga Birthing Workshop is happening Sunday, September 11, and there are a few spots left. We learn ways to cope and enjoy labour in this fun and informative 4 hour workshop. No yoga experience necessary!

Call Happy Tree at or register for any of the family programs online.

Jenny Bee’s fall yoga schedule

Yoga Portage @ Espace Shanti 9:30 (with baby)
Yoga Fluide (flow) @ Shanti 12pm
Prenatal @ Breathepod 3pm (pregnancy)
Prenatal @ Viveka 7:15 (pregnancy)
Mom and Baby @ Happy Tree 10:45 (with baby)
Prenatal @ Happy Tree 7:30 (pregnancy)
Équilibre (Hatha/Yin) @ Viveka 10am
Mom and Baby @ Viveka 12pm (with baby)
Prénatal @ Espace Shanti 6:30pm (pregnancy)
Yin @ Espace Shanti 8:30
Mom and Baby @ Breathepod (with baby)
Cardio-Fit et Yoga maman-bébé
@ Espace Shanti 2pm (with baby)


Sep 022016

My kids love music. They play the music we have in our collection (as I’ve written before, Babe’s fave these days is Tom Petty, while Bug leans toward Bob Marley). They make music with the instruments we have at home, whether it’s a drumkit, glock, trumpet, guitar or ukelele. And both kids have their own CD collection of music made just for children.

Some of their faves include Raffi and Lisa Loeb. Montreal’s Jennifer Gasoi is at the top of 5.5 year old Babe’s list. We saw Jennifer perform a couple years ago at Montreal’s Folk Fest where we bought Her Grammy-winning Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well. We listened to it every single time we were in the car for about a month. Then it sadly and mysteriously went missing.
blue and redWhen I saw The Secret Mountain (who never dissapoints) was publishing a book of Jennifer‘s songs, called Blue and Red Make Purple: A musical journey with Jennifer Gasoi, I was so excited to offer it to my kids. And I think any parent who sees it will likely feel the same.
There are 12 songs on this new Storybook-CD, most of which are on the one we lost. A few of them also come from Jennifer’s first album, Songs for You. Babe was thrilled to rediscover some of her favourites, “All Join Hands” and especially “Purple Man.” It’s definitely her favourite on this new CD. The very last words of the very last song, are from the Purple Man himself (voice by the super-talented Patrick Vetter), saying, ”Blue and red make purple!” The perfect name for a Storybook-CD. In this song, listeners get to hear a variety of musical genres in a pretty purple package.
As she grows, my girl’s attention span does too, but I was admittedly very impressed as she sat in a chair and listened to the entire 34-minute CD, changing the pages with the change of every song. And then, she wanted to do it again.
Photo by Philove

Photo by Philove

The pages of this book are so so so beautifully illustrated by the talented Steve Adams, who illustrated one of our family’s all-time favourite books, The Boy Who Grew Flowers (Barefoot Books).

The pages at the back of the book might be by favourite part, where kids can learn about blues, jazz, calypso, folk, klezmer, Dixieland, gospel, Cajun and bluegrass. This part of the book is so precious to me. Styles and genres indentification comes up a lot in our house as like, the funnest game ever. Papa (aka Michel Berthiaume) is a jazz musician, and we’re always listening to jazz, rock, R&B, pop, classical… Babe is already able to identify a lot of these things are her own, but the pages of this book lets us go even deeper with the musical education. In these paragraphs, there is also an explaination of each of the songs, and questions like, Can you identify the kind of horn playing the solo? and Can you identify the theme of Baby Blue?
I was impressed to learn that Jennifer wrote the text for these pages, in addition to writing and producing all the music on the CD. She’s backed up by some of the city’s finest musicians, including John Sadowy, Rich Irwin on drums and Ron Dilauro on trumpet. The tuba player, Chris Smith, is quite possibly my daughter’s first crush.
When I ask Babe to help me review this CD she said, “She sings good, like Katy Perry.” Hey, everyone’s intitled to their own opinion!
Blue and Red Make Purple is set for release on October 1st. Watch this blog for an exclusive interview with Jennifer, and a giveaway of this awesome new CD.