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When Christina was a little girl, her parents would often take her and her two brothers on camping trips. After a couple of hours in the car, the backseat often turned into a war zone when bored youngsters would start to tease and torment each other in order to relieve the tedium of the long drive. Mr. Smith, in a valiant effort to cultivate a cease-fire, taught his children a number of Newfoundland traditional songs. His hope was that singing would replace screaming and reduce grey hair growth in the driver's seat! Teaching "Lukey's Boat" might seem to be a contradictory approach to silencing children, but it did instill a love for traditional music in the impressionable, blond head of the young Christina.
In 1978 Christina got a summer job with the folklore department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her mission? To interview elderly musicians playing at the Newfoundland and Labrador folk festival that summer. Her assignment? Legendary fiddler Emile Benoît. When Emile found out that Christina was a classically trained violinist, the interview turned into a fiddle lesson!
Christina has been playing Newfoundland fiddle music ever since that life-altering experience. She continues to play tunes that she learned from Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard and Minnie White, and actively collects tunes from other elderly musicians in the province such as Frank Maher, Mrs. Belle Fennelly, Cyril Flynn, Vince Collins, John Joe Pidgeon.
She has produced two albums with the STEP Fiddlers, Galing for a Storm (2000) and Fiddling in the Fog (2010). Her fiddle and cello playing can be heard on a host of Newfoundland albums, including Dave Penny, Ed Kavanagh, Emile Benoit, Buddy Wassisname and the Other Fellers and Jim Payne.
She’s written music for documentaries, arranged music for choir, CDs, film and video, composed her own tunes, she makes the best darn apple pie in the province, and in her spare time she sings with Lady Cove Choir and plays the bass viol.
Christina lives in St. John’s with her husband Chris Brookes and their cat, Mike. She teaches Suzuki violin and cello. On Monday mornings, she pays her debt to society by playing music and drinking endless cappuccinos with her friend Jean Hewson.
|All content ©2010 Jean Hewson and Christina Smith|