Linda M. Smith
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Linda M. Smith

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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A MULTIMEDIA CELTIC-INSPIRED MUSICAL PERFORMANCE SET TO AIR THIS WEEKEND
HEDY WEISS on March 6, 2015

Chicago dance enthusiasts might already be familiar with the work of Christopher Kai Olsen, the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker who collaborated with choreographers Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos on their story ballets, “The White City” and “A Light in the Dark.”
Now, Olsen and his Kai Harding Entertainment company have partnered with Chicago-based singer/songwriter Linda Marie Smith to bring “Mearra – Selkie from the Sea,” a Celtic-inspired multimedia performance, to television.
Filmed live at the Irish American Heritage Center, the hour-long work will be broadcast multiple times on WYCC (Channel 20) beginning with its premiere airing on Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. Re-broadcasts are scheduled for Sunday, March 8 at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 12 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 at 4 p.m. The broadcast marks the first anniversary of Smith’s hometown release of her CD of the same name, and provides audiences here with another opportunity to experience this “family friendly” presentation based on the story of a mythical seal with the mysterious ability to metamorphose into a human being.
Smith’s original, richly orchestrated songs are complemented by evocative, hand-drawn, animated images that help tell this enigmatic and bittersweet story of love, loss, and transformation. The tale begins with Mearra, a young Selkie maiden, falling in love with Ian, a lonely fisherman entranced by her beauty. Mearra bids farewell to her life in the sea, marries Ian, and starts a family. But seven years later the sea inexorably calls for Mearra’s return.
With a genre-crossing vocal style that encompasses a folk/rock sensibility, Smith’s music is romantic, soulful, earthy, and mystical, with lyrics and melodies that weave colorful stories of curious places and intriguing people.

Chicago singer/songwriter Linda Marie Smith.

In a prepared statement, Smith noted: “Creating ‘Mearra – Selkie from the Sea’ has been one of the most enjoyable and most ambitious endeavors in my songwriting career. As a child, fairy tales and folklore captivated me. I loved being transported to other worlds where the impossible was possible. Folklore involves fantastic people or animals, and brings our attention to things we value most highly, fear most deeply, and hope for most ardently. My spirit and childlike innocence were rekindled while doing research for this piece.”
Olsen’s visual storytelling flows seamlessly alongside Smith’s musicality, enabling him to capture every passionately performed lyric and dramatic orchestration of this haunting musical narrative on film.
http://entertainment.suntimes.com/television/multimedia-celtic-inspired-musical-performance-set-air/ - Chicago SunTimes


"Smith enriches the pastoral backdrop in her songs with a golden voice and a sensitive ear towards arrangement. The lyrics are especially rich, evoking the complexity of Artemisia's growth as both a woman and painter in the male-dominated art world." Andy Downing, Chicago Tribune - "On The Town" - Chicago Tribune


"...with her 2007 album "Artemisia," a concept album inspired by the life of 17th Century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Smith's music seems better suited to marble-floored museums and sunlit art galleries. The album sounds like it was crafted with careful brush-strokes, twinkling piano, dreamy flute and lilting violin creating a romantic backdrop for Smith's self-assured vocal stylings." Andy Downing, Chicago Tribune - "High Five" - Chicago Tribune


"In her self-titled nine-song debut CD, Chicago singer-songwriter Linda M. Smith follows the path of lulling as such female folk-rockers as Shawn Colvin and Natalie Merchant. Her strong, self-assured vocals and a lyrical style that examines the usual romantic turf without resorting to cliches put her a big step ahead of the usual coffeehouse crooners. "We all have the wolf inside/Listen, be still, hear their howling cries," she sings on my favorite tune, "Wolf Inside" .... Smith's is a voice well worth hearing." Jim DeRogatis - Chicago Suntimes - Chicago Suntimes - Jim DeRogatis


"With voice and music and evocative images, Linda M. Smith soulfully conveys the inner Artemisia Gentileschi--her yearnings, her painter's eye, and her abiding hope. "Bless Me Michelangelo" is a timeless paean to the power of art to uplift and heal." Susan Vreeland, New York Best Selling author, "The Passion of Artemisia", "Girl In Hyacinth Blue", "Luncheon of the Boating Party" and many others To find out more about Susan Vreeland, go to her web site at: http://www.svreeland.com/ - Penguin Books


Inspiration isn't always a dramatic flash. For singer-songwriter Linda M. Smith of North Mayfair, the notion of creating a cycle of songs about the Italian Renaissance painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1593-1652, took shape over half-a-dozen years. Smith had watched a forgettable, 1997 film about the artist -- and immediately forgot about her. Two years after that however, "Artemisia just popped into my head again," says Smith. This time, the spark caught, and after four years of research and song-writing, Smith is ready to debut "Artemisia," her new show and CD, at the Old Town School of Folk Music where she teaches. "It's been a haul," Smith says, but worth it. "We know about Caravaggio, we know about Reubens, we know about her father (Orazio Gentileschi). But she's not even recognized. People need to know about her." Not movie version The reality of Artemisia, the first important female in European art history, turned out to be quite different than the movie version, and for Smith, more inspiring. Smith's rendition of Artemisia's story is a program of words, songs and projections of the artist's works. Crafted in a folk-rock-country blend, the songs really connect to the historical subject, says Eugenia Elliott, also of North Mayfair, a vocalist and flutist for the project. "They relate to Artemisia and her work, but they also have contemporary themes that are relatable to all kinds of people's lives," she says. Smith was wholly impressed by the woman she came to know through her research. Though her world did not want to accept female painters, Artemisia perfected her skills with her father's encouragement. At 19, she was raped by her father's friend and business partner, Agostino Tassi, which led to a painful, seven-month trial. "She had to undergo torture to prove her innocence, and her reputation was ruined anyway," says Smith. Off with his head! Despite the personal tragedy and public humiliation, Artemisia not only continued to paint, but channeled her tumultuous emotions into her work. Her "Judith Slaying Holofernes," done during the trial, shows the Old Testament-era heroine beheading an enemy general with his own sword. Looking at that painting, Smith could almost smell the vengeance. "You can see that (Artemisia's Judith) was really getting down to business on this guy." Robert Arendt, Smith's husband and accompanist, notes that Artemisia had no scruples about painting blood. "It's a real depiction of what cutting someone's head off means." Though convicted and exiled from Rome, Tassi was back in the Gentileschi studio in a year. Her father's lack of support, says Smith, "must have been the ultimate betrayal." One of Smith's songs, "Did You Ever Think of Me?" deals with the father-daughter estrangement and eventual reconciliation. Seeing parallels in her own life, Smith says, "I think that final reunion maybe helped Artemisia heal." Artemisia ultimately triumphed, becoming a successful, renowned artist and court painter to kings, in an era when women's career choices were limited to marriage and the convent. "Her strength as a woman just really inspires me," says Smith, now a lot more certain of her own abilities. "You can't worry about what people will say if you want to be out there. I'm sure Artemisia didn't think like that." Sara Burrows, Pioneer Press - Pioneer Press


"Artemisia," the cd is a real treat for your ears. Linda M. Smith is a highly gifted balladeer, classy crooner, and her newest album is a hit. Her writings are true poetry of a place of warmth and understanding that feels like a nice warm hug from a close friend." Edward Vincent, Oak Park Journal - Oak Park Journal


Discography

"Artemisia" (debuted in 2006) http://www.lindamsmith.com/comps/main/artemisia_video.php "Blame It On The Moon" (2000 release) http://www.lindamsmith.com/comps/main/index.html "Linda M. Smith" (self-titled 1998 debut) http://www.lindamsmith.com/comps/main/index.html

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Bio

 ·      A fantastical, Celtic fairy tale

·      A  timeless love story

·      A musical, magical, multimedia event

The ancient Celtic tale of the Selkie is the setting for Mearra-Selkie from the Sea, a musical multimedia concert that premiered on PBS-WYCC in Chicago on March 7th 2015. Audiences of all ages are drawn into this unforgettable family friendly presentation based on the story of a mythical seal with the mysterious ability to metamorphose into a human being.

Infusing Linda Marie Smith’s original, richly orchestrated songs with evocative, hand-drawn, animated images, Mearra Selkie from the Sea presents an enigmatic and bittersweet story of love, loss, and transformation that begins with Mearra, a young Selkie maiden, who falls in love with a lonely fisherman (Ian) who is equally entranced by her supernatural beauty. Mearra bids farewell to her life in the sea, marries Ian, and starts a family. However, seven years later, the sea inexorably calls for Mearra’s return.

Ms. Smith's third release, ARTEMISIA was her first concept album. It explores the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a revolutionary 17th century Italian painter and the first female artist to achieve recognition in the world of post-renaissance art. The live performance of this unique multimedia experience, "THE TRIUMPH OF ARTEMISIA", combines Smith's original music, narration and stunning video projection of Artemisia's paintings. The combined mediums of music and art tell the story of struggle, perseverance and triumph for this enigmatic painter. It remains relevant to Smith's own life and the lives of women today.

Linda M. Smith received honorable mention in the BILLBOARD SONGWRITING CONTEST for her song, "Plaine Jane" due for release in 2017. Ms. Smith co-produced and performed in "THE GRAPES OF WRATH - A FOLK OPERA", music by Michael Smith and was also delighted to be a part of Michael Smith's "SNOWQUEEN" at the Victory Gardens Theater where she worked with director Frank Galati and the Blair Thomas Puppetry Company.

In addition to recording and performing, Linda M. Smith teaches guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and is recognized by the Illinois Arts Council in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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