Jocelyne Baribeau doesn’t mind being called a diva one little bit.
That’s because the Southdale resident is otherwise known as Madame Diva, a children’s singer-songwriter, who will celebrate the release of her second children’s album — VIVA LA DIVA — with a show on Sun., Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. at Centro culturel franco-manitobain, located at 340 Provencher Blvd.
The show will be in French, as is the CD. Baribeau said the event will be an "ideal occasion for families of both francophone backgrounds and those studying French immersion to spend an hour being transported into a colourful world of puppets and music."
The 14-track album — Baribeau’s second — features tracks such as Little Earth Worm, The Tree and Fruits and Veggies and is an eclectic mix of musical styles.
"It’s a varied album with styles ranging from folk, disco, reggae and gospel," said Baribeau, who was formerly a self-employed early childhood music educator. "I gave myself permission to explore these styles, so the kids are getting different tastes of music."
In a collaborative effort, a few of the songs were co-written with students from St. James-Assiniboia School Division’s integrated arts program, while the choir from la Division scolaire franco-manitobaine provided backup vocals on another track.
On Dec. 2, Baribeau will be joined by musicians Marc Arnould, Gilles Fournier and Daniel Roy, with Andrina Turenne and Ariane Jean as backup vocalists. Dancers (The Divettes) and a host of puppets will also join in the fun. There will also be video animation presentation during the show.
Baribeau, who has three sons and started appearing as Madame Diva three years ago, said her alter ego has been evolving within her for much longer.
"I love working with children and I love singing, so it’s the perfect marriage. She’s the warmest diva you’ll ever meet. Lots of kids come up and want a hug. She’s a very kind-hearted diva," she said, noting her next album, due out next year, will be recorded in English.
Baribeau said part of motivation to perform is the satisfaction of playing to receptive audiences.
"Children are the least judgmental audience I’ve ever met. And it’s reciprocal. I get back as much from them as they get from me. It affirms all the hard work. Adults tend to reserve themselves, but kids don’t hold back."
Windsor Park resident Marie-Anne Beaudette, the main puppeteer in the show, plays a character called Mademoiselle Diva.
"The show has an environmental twist and highlights the need to respect nature," Beaudette said. "It will be colourful, lively and bright."
"Jocelyne is a very colourful, nice, calm presence on stage, with a soothing, fun motherly aura. It’s such a gift seeing kids light up and feed off that."
Local organizations such as Francofonds, Le 100 Nons and Manitoba Film and Music have provided valuable support for the project, Baribeau added.
Tickets are available in advance by calling 204-233-2556 or at the door. Tickets are $7.50 each or $25 for a family pack of four. Kids under two get in free.
For more information, go to Facebook and search for Madame Diva.