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Wednesday, April 8, 2009 03:25 pm

The adventures of Marina V

Marina V and Nick Baker perform Apr 13 at Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

For the last several years Russian-born singer-songwriter Marina V always scheduled a stop in Springfield for a visit and a show right around the Christmas holiday. During her 2007 yuletide stopover, the MacMurray College graduate ended up in the hospital with emergency gallbladder removal surgery. Everything turned out fine once the disgruntled organ was out of the picture, but the experience left her “super paranoid about returning to Springfield during Christmas,” as she put it, and we were left with no Marina V sighting in all of 2008.

Fans of the talented performer, prepare to rejoice, for on April 13, the Monday after Easter (what’s up with the popular Christian holiday thing?) Marina V, along with partner Nick Baker, play at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation (745 Woodside Rd, 217-585-9550,www.aluuc.org) at 7:30 p.m. Marina performs on piano and sings while Baker accompanies on guitar and plays straight man. Besides the fact I am a fan of Marina’s songs, one of the main reasons I write about her every year is the absolutely fascinating things she manages to accomplish in her career. Ever since her migration to Los Angeles circa 2004, the aspiring pop star keeps knocking out amazing deeds, methodically working on her lifelong dream of making music a way of life.

Last year marked the release of Modern Fairytale, a stunning collection of modern pop that is her most realized album to date. In 2006 came Live at Soundmoves and in 2005 it was Simple Magic, with Russian Bootleg, a CD sung entirely in her native tongue tucked in there somewhere for good measure. During her stay in LA, she’s worked with producer Jack Douglas, manager David Krebs and recorded in Graham Nash’s home studio, plus traveled to play in the Czech Republic, England, Russia and many areas of the U.S. Speaking of the good, old USA, Marina recently became an American citizen and kept her Russian citizenship as well, making her quite possibly the only singer-songwriter with dual citizenship to perform in the area so far this year.

I asked her for a list of accomplishments since we last saw her in 2007 and, besides the regular playing gigs out in sunny southern California and various spots across the country (see them all at www.MarinaV.com), the self-described workaholic performed at the world-famous Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, played twice in Russia, once in Australia and opened for ’80s British pop star Howard Jones on the East and West Coasts.

Want more? Why not? She and Baker also managed a tour of France, performed at the Russian Cultural Center (a part of the Russian Embassy) on Jan. 20 during the Obama inaugural festivities, and she made a brief appearance playing piano in a bar scene on the Fox network television show “Dollhouse.”Her song Sunshine Guaranteed is in the iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge, another song is in an upcoming Danny Lerner film and she co-wrote the theme song for the documentary Fallen Idol: The Yuri Gagarin Conspiracy, narrated by actor Elliott Gould. The music video for her song Hope received a Hollywood Music Award nomination and she co-wrote a tune with Emmy-winning songwriter Michele Vice-Maslin, who also produced Marina’s recording of the song.

And one more thing to add to the list: she’s recording a new album with a top LA producer named Guy Erez, whose credits include the Gipsy Kings, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Cabrera and, soon to be, Marina V.

What else can I say? Marina is doing what it takes to make it in the music business and seemingly keeps getting closer to the big time every year. And no matter where it all ends, her journey is certainly an adventure. Lucky for us, we get to watch.


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