Skip to content

Diamond shines after 25 years

Four Hugs a Day, that's the minimum, four hugs a day. Three generations of families in Richmond, probably at one time or another, have either sung the song to their child or had it sung to them as children.

Four Hugs a Day, that's the minimum, four hugs a day.

Three generations of families in Richmond, probably at one time or another, have either sung the song to their child or had it sung to them as children.

The woman who wrote the iconic children's song is Richmond's Charlotte Diamond.

For more than 25 years, Diamond has been entertaining children here and throughout North America, Europe and as far as Costa Rica.

Today, Diamond still pens songs and performs children's concerts.

She has recently released her thirteenth CD, 24 Carrot Diamond - The Best of Charlotte Diamond, a compilation of 24 of her all-time favourites songs.

"To celebrate 25 years in the business, I thought it was timely to put together a best of CD," said Diamond, who writes songs for children, age two to eight.

Her love of writing and performing is evident in her enthusiasm about her career.

Although in her early sixties, Diamond shows no signs of retiring anytime soon. In fact, she still performs between 80 to 100 concerts a year.

"I really love working with kids and when I do my shows, I love to interact with the audience," said the mother of two grown sons, both of whom have sung on several of her earlier CDs.

When asked about her longevity, Diamond paused and said, "Maybe because I come from a teaching background - also, I think because my family is involved and I'm very persistent."

When the News reached her last week, Diamond had recently returned from Hawaii.

She was the keynote presenter at a conference put on by the National Association for the Education of Children, in which she spoke about the value of music in children's lives.

The seasoned children's singer speaks three languages and has recorded two Spanish CDs, as well as three in French.

"There's a multicultural aspect to all of my music," she added.

Besides that, Diamond runs music workshops and school concerts.

Since her grandchildren were born, Diamond said she's started to write new songs.

"As a grandmother I feel like my focus has changed a little bit," she said. "I also think there's even more humour in my newer songs."

Diamond didn't start out singing children's songs.

After graduating with a bachelor in secondary education from the University of B.C. and

further studies at Quebec's Laval University, the longtime Richmondite taught French, science and music to high school students for more than 15 years.

She taught in Abbotsford, New Westminster and Vancouver.

She credits the "grandfather of folk" Pete Seeger and her sons for steering her into a new career as a children's singer.

(An American, Seeger is an iconic folk figure, who wrote such hits as If I had a Hammer and Where Have all the Flowers Gone? and sang at President Obama's inauguration.)

In 1982, Diamond had an opportunity to tour with Seeger.

"I was in a quartet and we performed as the introductory band before him and it was an amazing experience to watch him perform," she said.

When her sons were born, Diamond took time off from teaching and dab-bled in songwriting.

"Then, while the kids were in preschool at the Gingerbread House (Richmond), I really got into children's music and developed the preschool's music program," she said. "At the time, I was already singing and writing folk music for adults.

"Initially, I took the song, La Bamba, and wrote new lyrics and created a children's song out of it."

In 1985, she formed her Hug Bug Band and inde-pendently released her first CD, 10 Carrot Diamond.

"I recorded it in 1985 on LP and cassette and on Oct. 19 of that year I rented the Gateway Theatre and sold out two concerts," she said proudly. "The following year, 1986, I won the Juno Award."

(10 Carrot Diamond was certified gold in Canada).

Charlotte Diamond and the Hug Bug Band perform a Family Holiday Concert to welcome Santa on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Lansdowne Centre, Kiosk Court at 1 p.m.

Join Diamond for an interactive concert while she sings well-known songs such as Feliz Navidad, Petit Papa Noel and All the Nations Like Banana. Bring maracas and shakers.

For more information, call 604-274-8216 or visit www.charlottediamond. com.