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Janina Father Child

Janina’s father, Russell Desjarlais, around age 10, just before winning CJOB Radio Talent Contest


Janina grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba – daughter of a polish mother, and a metis father. Her father, who tragically died in a vehicle accident prior to her birth, turned out to have quite an influence in Janina’s
musical development. He was a songwriter and
musician, and was returning from a performance at the time of the accident.

From a very young age, Janina loved singing and dancing, writing poetry and short stories. She would listen to the radio and sing endlessly, and perform in the family living room. Teachers at school noticed that she had perfect pitch and a great musical sense, and she was often asked to sing solo in choirs and community events.

At age 11, Janina won the Best Performer Award for the CKY (now CTV) Talent Show, without having had any formal music training. This captured the
attention of promoters and agents, and gave Janina some opportunities to perform in festivals and such.

Janina received alot of support from her mother. It wasn’t, however, until age 13, when she finally met her father’s side of the family, that she really felt the central place for music in her life. Her native side was full of pickers and singers and artists. She was taught her unique guitar style by her Auntie Gloria, Auntie Barbara and her grandfather, all of Ojibway and Cree heritage.

Janina Father Young

Janina’s father, Russell Desjarlais…charismatic, funny, and an incredibly talented musician….around age 21.

Janina Mother

Eleanor, Janina’s mother….. the expression of love
in every way imagineable

Janina was also given her father’s guitar, and his
recordings. The family had quite a musical
reputation, and had performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, with the fingerpicking and rockabilly style of the time, reminiscent of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

Janina’s love of performing for children began around 20 years of age, when she would perform in parks in Winnipeg for free, and the children would follow her all around…not wanting her to leave This was the beginning of Janina’s intertwining of comedy and music, and the inspiration for the development of her many unique routines and skills in children’s

By 1985, Janina’s constant companion was her six string Fender guitar. Around this time, she attended the Winnipeg Musician’s College, where she studied classical voice training with Brenda Bakos. She studied music theory and history, jazz, ear training, sight reading, performance ensemble and various other topics.

In 1989, looking for a fresh change in her creativity, she began singing for children at community centers and preschools. In 1991, she moved to the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and continued to perform for children at festivals and concerts, receiving excellent reviews.


Janina’s aunt, Gloria Desjarlais… a mentor
and a true friend

Janina With Guitar

Janina doing what she loves….

While in BC, Janina developed her children’s
entertainment business, as well as connections with other musicians, and producers. In 1993, Janina began writing the music and lyrics for her children’s album, Colours Of The Rainbow.
Simultaneously, she began the studio work of
recording the album. The album was completed in mid-1995, with the contributions of many
well-known musicians. The album was produced impeccably by Olav Rixen, at Alternative
Productions, in North Vancouver.

The end result was a top-notch compilation of musical sounds from around the world…..fun, yet educational…..and greatly enjoyed by people of all ages.

The tunes stick in your head, and the variety of instruments, and quality of musicianship is hard to surpass in this genre.

In 1995, just after the release of the album, Janina gave birth to her son, Aidan. Since that time, she has
continued to perform and entertain for children, often on large festival stages, and at times with her son, Aidan, joining her on stage. She has also often worked as a music teacher for groups of pre-school children, often in Montessori schools or in daycare centres

Janina In Newspaper

Janina With Son

Janina and her son, Aidan (a comedian
in the making), on stage.

Janina toned down her writing and recording for a number of years. However, around 2005, she began writing and recording again, with various producers, including Brett Wade and Spencer Capier. She has not yet released an album of this music, although you can expect that in the future. At year end of 2010, however, some of the songs were released digitally as singles, for the first time. In addition, Colours Of The Rainbow, was re-released to the broad public for the first time, in both digital and physical cd format.

All of Janina’s music is now available at www.cdbaby.com and www.itunes.com. You can expect much more from Janina in 2011 and beyond, both in recordings, and in her children’s entertainment. A great love for children is Janina’s passion and driving force. She feels that we are all one family, and we can all connect with the beauty of our different cultures on this planet, and live in peace and harmony with one another.