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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007 07:29 pm

The continuing saga of Marina V

The Russian singer-songwriter performs Friday at ALUUC

Untitled Document It’s become a holiday tradition here at Now Playing world headquarters to write a column about Marina V on her yearly Yuletide return to central Illinois. I consider it a privilege and an honor not only because she is a good friend and a considerable artist but also because every year she has accomplished so much and continues to make strides in the music business. The Russian-born singer/songwriter came to America as a teenager, graduated from Illinois College in Jacksonville, and, after a few years of slugging it out on the playing grounds of central Illinois, set her sights on Los Angeles, a world center of the music industry. Every year since departing from the Land of Lincoln to the land of opportunity her small victories have loomed large, for just to exist and function there is considered “making it” by many, including me. Through the years, besides building up a regular playing schedule in the café jungles of Southern California, Marina has managed tours of Russia, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, and other worldly locations. She’s signed a management deal with David Krebs, who has worked with Aerosmith, Don McLean, AC/DC, the Scorpions, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and used the production talents of Jack Douglas, who was also chosen as a producer by the likes of John Lennon, George Harrison, and Aerosmith. January 2008 marks the release of Modern Fairytales, Marina V’s fifth CD of original music. The recording took place at the home studio of Graham Nash, ’60s legend and the Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash. “We’re [she and collaborator Nick Baker] good friends with sound engineer Jared Brown, who works at Graham’s studio,” says Marina. “He asked Graham, and we got the OK to record.”
The house is classic LA, complete with memorabilia and neighbors, including the blue jeans Nash wore at Woodstock hanging on the wall and a guy who did voices for the Smurfs living down the street.
Whatever environment the situation created, it was certainly good for the music. This recording is the finest work Marina V and Baker have produced. The lyrics are more concise yet still meaningful, the music more evocative but also more soothing than her previous works. It’s a sure sign of musical maturity to progress artistically and professionally while retaining one’s core sound. On Modern Fairytales the familiar emotive vocals combine with pleasantly polished music, pushing the progressive-pop arrangements into intensely enjoyable songs that not only grab your mind but reach into your heart as well. That’s vintage Marina V all right, just better than ever. Aside from the wonderful songs and gorgeous production on the disc, the cover is an extraordinary piece of art. “A friend of a friend, actually a postal worker from Arizona, did that,” she explains. “I had a clear idea of what I wanted in my head, sketched ideas in a rough way, gave him a real photo of me, and he came up with the cover.”
But what does our ever-climbing higher, hard-driving artiste think of it all? “I just want to keep working on more and more things,” says Marina. “I feel I’m getting better all the time, and good stuff keeps coming my way.”

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

Catch Marina V in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 745 Woodside Rd., 217-585-9550. Tickets cost $10; all ages are welcome, and children under 12 get in for $5. Get more information at www.aluuc.org or www.marinav.com.
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