Songs of personal growth are combined with a naturalistic view of New England by Lui Collins. While her repertoire includes tunes about the changing seasons and the farmlands of the northeast United States, Collins has increasingly used music as a path to explore her inner psyche. Her most recent work has included songs reflecting her studies in bodywork and healing techniques at the Centre of Light, a spiritual retreat in western Massachusetts.
Collins' musical career was launched while studying sociology and music at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, when she performed Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez songs in local folk music coffeehouses. In the mid-1970s, Collins performed throughout the Northeast in a duo with fellow Vermonter Horace Williams.
Collins' debut solo album, Made in New England, was released in 1978. Her second album, Baptism of Fire, reflected on changes in her life after marrying stone mason Rod Zandler and giving birth to the first of three children. Her third album, There's a Light, was produced by Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham and included "Ballad of the White Seal Maid," co-written with fantasy/children's book author Jane Yolen.
Despite her musical success, Collins experienced great sorrow in her personal life. When her youngest son, Tim, was born in 1986 with a club foot, she announced her retirement from music. Collins didn't re-emerge until 1993, when she released Moondancer, a deeply personal collection subtitled "The Journey of the Child Within." In addition to 11 original tunes, the album included Collins' second collaboration with Yolen, "Mermaid's Lullaby." Inspired by her work with the Grumbling Gryphon's Children's Theater Arts Company, Collins recorded an album of children's songs, North of Mars, in 1995. She returned to her more adult-oriented material with the album Stone by Stone in 1997. ~ Craig Harris