Music is magic for Gintaré, and she is ready to begin sharing it again with her community and the world.

Gintaré McCurdy has been performing under her first name since she was a girl, evolving from a classical trained musician to a teen pop star in her native Lithuania to a 12-year successful career in England, during which she was signed by Sony and EMI Records. She worked with late Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon to create a 2000 album that appeared on international pop music charts and became a dance club hit in London.

A resident of Camden, Gintaré is in the process of recording three new albums, some of which may be sampled during her concert performance Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Camden’s John Street Methodist Church; admission will be $10 at the door.

Gintaré has known this area for 20 years and has lived in both Camden and Belfast. She said she thinks the Midcoast is great place to raise children — she has two sons, and she and husband and manager Keith McCurdy have a 6-year-old daughter — and compares it to a mini New York or London.

“It has everything, and offers the mountains and ocean too. You can ski, swim, the children are safe — aren’t we lucky to be here,” she said on a sunny autumn day at Zoot Coffee.

Gintaré said the music-centric nature of education in Lithuania and other countries in that part of Europe is centuries old and continues to enrich her life. Her hometown Kaunas, for example, has a population of about 378,000 and at one time boasted dozens of music schools. These are separate schools students attend in addition to their regular schools, and the music they study is more than how to play an instrument.

“You study the history, you dis-assemble symphonies! Not everyone becomes a professional musician, but the music studies make them better at whatever they do,” she said.

Gintaré said her mother recently had the opportunity to chat with a Finnish minister of culture; Finland is another small country with a big emphasis on music education.

“He said it is because ‘We want great doctors, great cobblers, the best cooks,'” she said.

Gintaré’s parents ran a music school with some 500 students; she is thinking about having one in her home, perhaps as soon as next spring. One reason is that she would like her daughter to experience that musical immersion.

“To grow up in the arts is a gift,” she said.

That traditional music school education is focused on classical repertoire, however, and Gintaré found herself drawn to other types of music as well including jazz and pop. Her teen stardom came at a cost, as neither her parents nor the music school culture approved of the popular music that made her a household name.

“I was battered greatly, to have broken my classical career! The travel and TV shows made no time for those studies, but technically I remained strong because I was playing all the time,” she said.

Gintaré did finish her training at conservatory and university levels, “because my parents demanded it,” and has a master’s degree in composition and piano. And she still plays classical repertoire from time to time. She said she still plays Liszt and Chopin and Bach.

“I almost did ‘Liebestraum’ with a philharmonic orchestra, but was asked to perfom my own song, ‘Magic Blue,’ and did that instead,” she said.

Her considerable keyboard skills and ethereal vocals have led her to explore the vocoder, an electronic synthesis instrument.

“You have to be both a good pianist and singer or it will work against you,” she said, crediting younger son Marty Laurita for encouraging her to focus on the instrument.

Gintaré is using the vocoder to record “Christmas and Unicorns,” an a cappella album that explores both the magic of the Christmas season and the strange beauty of dreams. The songs on that album will be sung in English, while another album in the works offers original lullabies in Japanese, Lithuanian, Norwegian, English and Estonian.

“I want little children to hear music and, through phonetics and tonality of another language, effortlessly expand their intellects for the future. It is very calm music, with unexpected things when they hear it,” she said.

Growing up in a small country occupied by a large one — “It was like tigers and bugs” — and living in Sweden, Finland, Norway and England have given Gintaré a passion for preserving culture and heritage, which are often carried in language and music. People know about cultures being lost through war, but much is disappearing now because the world has become transportable and dispensable, she said.

“I can’t wait for people to wake up and appreciate the pureness of nationality. This is very different from chauvinism. It is about the preservation of humanity,” she said, adding she hopes her daughter will grow up to marvel at the differences between people, not be afraid of them.

Gintaré continues to have a following in her homeland and in Europe, where she performs in thousand-seat venues every year in addition to what she calls “secret concerts” for smaller, select audiences in galleries and such. Two years ago, she released “Kol Prašvis,” her first and only album in Lithuanian, and she was invited to sing her popular song “Lily of the Lord” with an international choir of 20,000 singers at a song festival in Vilnius that commemorated 1000 years jubilee of Lithuania.

“It was quite an honor and experience,” she said.

Back home on the Midcoast, she has been singing of late with VoXX: Voice of Twenty, the respected mostly a cappella ensemble previously known as Ave Maris Stella.

“I haven’t done that kind of singing since I was a child, I love it! There are so many talented people there, it’s such a pleasure,” she said.

The third new album Gintaré is working on will be an English version of “Kol Prašvis.” She records right at home, working with respected recording engineer Lincoln Clapp. And she continues to write new works; during the Hope Elephant Fall Fundraiser variety show Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House, Gintaré will perform a set and later go key-to-key with Grammy Award-winning pianist Paul Sullivan to debut a new song she has written.

With all this music making on her plate, it is hard to imagine Gintaré is also seriously at work on what may end up being called the Camden House of Music, but she is gathering materials and envisioning innovations such as having renowned musicians teach via Skype from Europe. She wants to offer piano, theory, composition, voice and music literature for all ages and at a reasonable cost.

“Elizabeth [her daughter] is getting to be at the right age, but she will probably want to be taught by someone else,” she said with a laugh.

Having several keyboards in the house is just how Gintaré grew up. Her sister already has a music school, so the impulse definitely runs in the family. So does a love for the stories behind the compositions, apparently. Gintaré said when she was about 5, her mother brought her a book about Mozart, a child prodigy who was composing and performing on tour by age 6.

“He was tiny like me, but there he was, playing for kings. He was my Michael Jackson, my inspiration,” Gintaré said.

Her daughter is now as devoted to that Mozart book as Gintaré was, which gives the singer, composer, pianist and visual artist great delight.

“It is part of the true magic of music,” she said.

For more information about Gintaré and her music, visit For more information about the Hope Elephant Fall Fundraiser, see the link below.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to