Writer, Performer, Artist
Marie-Lynn Hammond can’t decide if she should be listed here under Writers or Performers, since she’s both. But given that she’s also half French and half English, she’s used to not being able to decide exactly where she fits in.
More recently, she’s been exploring digital photography and art, so now she’s really confused, hence a third listing under Artists (see more info below).
On the performance side, she’s a founding member of Stringband, one of Canada’s seminal folk groups and indie-record pioneers. Called one of Canada’s best songwriters by no less than Estelle Klein, co-founder of the Mariposa Folk Festival, Marie-Lynn has six solo CDs to her credit. Her songs, ranging from witty and humorous to haunting and powerful, often feature stories of women’s lives and Canadian themes.
On the writing side, Marie-Lynn’s bilingual play about her grandmothers, De Beaux Gestes & Beautiful Deeds, was nominated for a Dora award and toured Canada. Three other plays and a co-written screenplay have all been professionally produced; she’s also penned articles for publications such as Chatelaine and the Toronto Star. And since moving to the poetically inclined town of Cobourg, she’s worked on a number of poems.
Oh, and in one of her past lives, she hosted two national CBC radio shows, Summershift and Musical Friends.
Thirty years ago, Marie-Lynn brushed off her English degree and trained as an editor. Since then, she’s proofread and edited everything from cookbooks to novels to United Nations reports. In 2010 she had the pleasure of copyediting Esi Edugyan’s first Giller-prize winner, Half-Blood Blues.
Mostly retired from editing now, Marie-Lynn’s focusing on her own projects, including visual art. She spent two years at art school way back, so this isn’t totally new for her, although her medium is. Her work begins with a photo, usually of natural phenomena; then she digitally plays with form and colour — “painting with pixels,” she calls it — ending up with an often near-abstract image that aims to represent the animating spirit inherent even in dead leaves, grey rocks, or muddy puddles.
In addition to the aforementioned activities, Marie-Lynn rides horses, rescues cats, and occasionally still performs. If you’d like to host a house concert for her and her fabulous keyboardist Tom Leighton, let her know!
Samples of her music and writing can be found on her website at www.marielynnhammond.com.