Jill Barber: Romance from another era

It all seemed to happen so quickly. In 2009, Jill Barber was playing the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival behind her award winning album Chances. At the insistence of a dear friend, she decided to perform for the first time ever, a French translation of one of her songs, Tous Mes Rêves (All My Dreams). Though Jill has always admired French culture, her basic high school-level language skills had previously inhibited her from properly expressing herself with her Québec audience. That all changed when she graced the stage that night in Montreal.

“I just closed my eyes, channeled Edith Piaf and began to sing. I was blown away by the response,” says the Vancouver-based chanteuse. “Though my French was far from perfect, the audience clearly valued the effort. I was inspired to perform more and more in this beautiful language”.

Inspired by her growing French-speaking fan base and her admiration for la vie en rose, Barber enrolled in a French immersion school in the south of France. Through these experiences, Jill began to gain more confidence in French, eventually recording the first single from her follow-up album Mischievous Moon in both English and French. Tell Me/Dis-moi charted all over the country and the James Bond-inspired video, shot in Buenos Aires, was a mainstay on TV.

Barber continues to explore themes of love and romance on Mischievous Moon, which not only perfectly captures the whimsical moods of moonlight, but also explores what’s hidden in the shadows it casts. “The moon has such a venerable presence in the night sky, keeping one eye on us,” she says. “I don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes it feels like we have our own private jokes, the moon and I. From time to time I can’t help but look up and give it a little wink.”

Having earned over twenty award nominations and with two top-selling albums in English, Jill is poised to continue her burgeoning love affair with her French audience and Francophiles alike.

“Singing in French has been like rediscovering my voice, my instrument,” she says. “The French language, particularly when sung, is very beautiful to me. It is a great pleasure for me to sing, and I think that enjoyment comes through.”

Combined with the unique and intimate experience of our OnStage format, we know that her performance on April 30 will be a beautiful bubble of sound that will transport you to another era of French romanticism that will remind you of great songstresses like Edith Piaf or even Ella Fitzgerald.

Jill Barber will be OnStage at The Centre on Wednesday, April 30 @ 8PM.  Tickets are on sale now.