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Kristi Martel: 'Littlebird's Flight'

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Kristi Martel: 'Littlebird's Flight'

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Kristi Martel: 'Littlebird's Flight'

Kristi Martel: 'Littlebird's Flight'

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Singer-songwriter and pianist Kristi Martel Johannah Hetherington hide caption

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Johannah Hetherington

Singer-songwriter and pianist Kristi Martel

Johannah Hetherington

Kristi Martel began performing at age three, when she sang into salt and pepper shakers on restaurant tables. Instead of being embarrassed, her family encouraged her, and when Martel finished, everyone in the restaurant clapped. So, she kept at it and started playing piano. Now Martel's expressive voice soars over her fearless songwriting and piano-playing, which she says combines "blues dissonance and syncopation" with "classical training."

She named her latest album, Ravengirl, after her "goofy joke superhero name." Martel says the CD stands for "recognition of the crazy blessing" that she could still feel joy while in intense grief after her former life partner committed suicide in 2003. "Littlebird's Flight" features Martel on vocals, piano and Rhodes; Kurt Meyer on upright bass and Keith Levreault on drums.

Growing up in New England, Martel left home in 1990. After earning an ASCAP grant and two music degrees, she returned to Rhode Island in 2003. She says her songs speak of "relationships, cultural identity, body image and body memory." Her recording career started in 2000, and she has released six CDs through Sealed Lip Records.

Motif Magazine voted Martel Rhode Island's Best Female Alt-Rock Vocalist in 2006, and she has also been a finalist in many international songwriting competitions.