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MP3 Debi Smith - The Soprano
Traditional/classical/original songs highlight Debi''s "pristine/soaring soprano" (The Washington Post). Features musicians Al Petteway, Marcy Marxer, Mark O''Connor. This double cd set includes a bonus holiday album. Debi is one of The 4 Bitchin'' Babes.
Debi Smith''s fifth solo CD, "The Soprano," is an acoustic folk-oriented classical crossover double album. Both CD''s feature Debi''s "pristine and soaring soprano" voice (The Washington Post). The songs on CD One range from a stunning take on Offenbach''s "Barcarolle: Belle nuit ô nuit d''amour" and Bizet''s saucy "Habenera" to Celtic classics "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "Jock of Hazeldine"; to traditional favorite "Shenandoah," and the National Anthem. It continues with exultant versions of "Ave Maria" and "Amazing Grace, " and original songs "In My Dreams" (featuring Debi on Irish bodhran) and "Italy and France" a moving ballad about Debi''s experience of having a child with Autism. CD Two features Christmas music and carols such as "Silent Night," "Greensleeves (What Child is This)," "O Holy Night," and Debi''s original Christmas songs.
Says Debi, "At present, it is not uncommon for me to perform Celtic, opera, traditional, choral and/or original music side-by-side in a show. An album with the same format seemed like a great idea. These songs turned out to be not only my own favorites, but also those most often requested by audience members."
Debi produced and arranged "The Soprano," engineered by Grammy winner Jim Robeson at Bias Studio in Springfield, Virginia. The album features the musical talents of fellow-Grammy winners Al Petteway on guitar and multi-instrumentalist Marcy Marxer. Several of the cuts are re-mixed or re-mastered from Debi''s past albums. "Bluebird" is from her very first album produced by the late Merle Watson and featuring the extraordinary playing of virtuoso Mark O''Connor.
When she was eight, Debi''s choir director had her sing up to five notes from the top of the piano. She told Debi that she was a soprano, best suited to sing the high parts in choir, madrigals, musicals and folk groups. When Debi eventually began a career in singing, initially it was only in that high voice. Performing in the Washington, D.C. area, her first recording consisted of three original soprano songs cut in a small studio in Arlington, VA. Debi was surprised and encouraged when one of those tunes was selected as runner up in Top 40 WPGC''s "Unknown Star" contest.
The pop music of the early 80''s still rang with such sopranos as Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. However, the scene was changing, and as it did, Debi found herself singing more and more in an alto voice. Still, the performances by these women, as well as renowned sopranos such as Maria Callas, Beverly Sills, and Barbara Cook "made my vocal cords cheer," says Debi. "Singing soprano is exhilarating, challenging, and... sometimes... aerobic."
During a stint as lead vocalist in the all-woman Irish group The Hags, Debi developed an appreciation for the Celtic soprano voice. Then, with sister Megan as The Smith Sisters, she met and recorded with folk/bluegrass legends Doc and Merle Watson. The added musical influence they had on the Smiths'' was evident in their recording projects together. Later, as one of the Four Bitchin'' Babes, Debi began performing her favorite opera pieces along side her regular repertoire. They were so well-received that they have become a regular part of her shows.
Now, after releasing five Smith Sister albums, four solo albums , various compilations, and five albums as one of The Four Bitchin'' Babes , Debi is releasing "The Soprano."
"It''s good to come home again," says Debi with a smile.
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