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Under One Sun


Under One Sun

(Version française ci-dessous)  23 July, 2010 - A special interview with Geneviève Labbé, singer and songwriter extraordinaire conveying a message of hope, love and unity to all the children. Geneviève who lives in Québec has traveled around the the world to share her message of peace. An artist who wishes to offer all she can using her music and voice.
 

Annick: Welcome to Treasurers of Wonderment and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

Geneviève Labbé: Thanks for inviting me!

Annick: Geneviève, you are a terrific  song writer and singer! Your music is so full of energy and the children's songs are very positive, refreshing and uplifting. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Geneviève: You are starting with a big, big question ! What can I say...? Love. Yes, love for life, love for children, and a deep sense of gratitude for the Creator. Love for music, that amazing language of the soul that humanity shares. Love for the limitless musical diversity that I love to explore.

Annick: Do you always perform in French or sometimes in other languages?

Geneviève: For the moment, my songs are mostly in French because I live in a French-speaking environment. I love singing in different languages; from Asia, Africa, South-America and North-America’s First Nations. I’m also hoping to produce an English version of Sous un même soleil, but it’s a matter of time and financial resources. When children hear songs from around the world, I’m sure it contributes to building a sense of world citizenship in their young hearts; For me, wanting to contribute to a better world is an impulse from the heart and I believe music can nurture that.

Annick: There is no doubt that children are attracted to your songs and energy. I know that you perform in concerts but do you also go to schools?

Geneviève: So far, I have mostly been performing in concerts. I’ve done a few shows in schools and I’m working towards developing that type of show as well. Schools are a wonderful place for the arts.

Annick: Your parents are both musicians.  Where were you born?

Geneviève: Yes they are both accomplished muscians and I was born in Québec city.

Annick: You’re also a world traveler. At the age of 16, you visited to Sénégal. What took you there?

Geneviève: It was a one month study trip on sustainable development to Sénégal, a wonderful learning experience in villages. That’s where I fell in love with African rythmes and music, I find it is so  filled with life. Wherever you go in Africa  music is everywhere.

Annick: That sounds lovely. You have also  traveled to Vietnam, India and Australia. Have you always had the wanderlust to travel or is it because of your music that you are always on the go?

Geneviève: I love to immerse myself in other cultures. So I’m not a world-traveler in a touristy way, I prefer to stay in a place and get to know its people. I lived two years in Vietnam, one year in India and 6 years in Australia. Living for a while in a community and getting to know local musicians gives you a deep appreciation for their music and culture. It is that grassroots connection that has inspired me, and which I try to pass on to children in my music.

However I find that some of the most wonderful journeys can be in our own cities where we live. In my neighborhood there are wonderful people from Columbia, Cuba, Congo and Iraq. People I have enjoyed getting to know, that taught me a lot and that I admire deeply.

Annick: Have you always performed for children and when did you know that you wanted to work with them?  Or did it just happen?

Geneviève: It just happened. I have never looked at children as a target audience, they are people like you and I. But they are at a stage of their lives that I still feel very connected to, years of wonderment, dreams and exploration.

I had many magical moments in my life, and some of the most magical moments were with children. Singing with children in villages in Sénégal, working with kids in an orphanage in Vietnam, playing soccer with my young aboriginal neighbours in Australia, being a volunteer teacher for Bahá'í classes in a public school in Australia. I have always found communication with children very inspiring. I’ve also met many vulnerable children and I have felt a strong impulse to reach out and try to help them.

When I returned to Québec after about eight years of living overseas, I had just become a mother and I wanted to give something back to life. That’s how it all started !

Annick: I know how much you enjoy being with children. How important is it for you to uplift their hearts and offer them the right message?

Geneviève: I love children because they are filled with light, and they are hungry for beauty, meaning and love. Of course they love entertainment, so if I can mingle music and education on stage, I’m really happy. But that doesn’t mean that we should hide from them the realities they will face as they get older. Our world has an urgent need for peace. Peace in the family, peace between neighbors, peace between different religious and cultural communities. I see children as potential agents of change.

In my new production about environment, I try to tell children about issues of equity, and the individual’s responsibility behind pollution. I like demystifying this materialistic culture that tries to make kids believe that purchasing this and that will make them happy.

Annick: Do you have a band who follows you or do you much prefer to perform on your own?

Geneviève: I find the teamwork and the synergy of improvisation just too much fun to work on my own. I have two different shows. Sous un même soleil (Under the same sun), has songs that talk about friendship, valuing cultural differences, honesty, world peace, etc. For this show I work with two multi-instrumentalists, a dancer and a small choir of children.

Yesterday I had the première of my new production, called Vox-planète (Voice of the planet). I work with a
percussionist, a guitarist and a multi-instrumentalist. We’ve built instruments from recycled materials and the teamwork through the project was fantastic.

Annick: The children seem to be transformed through your music and songs. Is that your main reason for performing with children?
 
Geneviève: I get very positive feedback from the young audience, their parents and teachers. I feel so blessed to be welcomed into their hearts and that tells me I should continue in that direction.

I am fascinated by the storytelling of legends. It’s an approach that I would like to integrate in everything I do. I am quietly dreaming of creating a musical comedy, a show that would create an atmosphere where certain themes can be explored more deeply. ‘Comédie musicale’ is a form of art that gives a great place to the human voice and emotions, it just feels right to me.

I love new challenges in my musical life. So I also work as a singer in other contexts. I love jazz and Latin music, and when I can I work on songs that occasionally sing to the adult public.

Annick: You always seem to have children on stage with you. Is that because you enjoy performing with them or because you know that it will transform them to be incorporated into the music?

Geneviève: Both! To be honest, having children in stage is a lot more work but it’s all worth it. For my new production, there are two young artists involved, a 13 year old singer and a 9 year old percussionist.

Annick: It was a real pleasure talking with you, Genevieve. Thank you so much for your time. Please visit Geneviève's website at genevievelabbe.com

Geneviève: Merci à vous et à la prochaine!

(Version française de cet entretien)

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