Heart Dance recording artist Michael Kent Smith is a composer who utilizes guitars along with a computer and a variety of folk instruments, particularly the dulcimer, performing on them and weaving the various strands together into vivid compositions that are a blend of classical, jazz, folk, Celtic and Spanish.
Michael Kent Smith has toured the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and Africa with his various projects and has performed concerts at such notable U.S. venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Chicago Cultural Center. On the global front he has performed in the Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato Mexico, the International Festival of World Music in Mexico City and the International Guitar Festival in Zihuatanejo as well as touring with the Tom Sank Festival in Paris, Rome, Mali and Burkina Faso. During his global travels his music has absorbed the culture, art and musical traditions of each those places. His compositions, while heavily grounded in acoustic music traditions, make full use of today’s electronic technology and he ties all these divergent strands together to create a musical tapestry that is both new and old at the same time.
Michael Kent Smith studied classical guitar with Denis Azabagic, fingerstyle guitar with Martin Simpson and Edward Gehard, jazz with Richard Medel, composition with Howard Krueger and flamenco with Manuel Lozano in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. He was the guitarist and principal composer in Pong Unit, the ensemble fronted by poet Marc Smith, inventor of the Poetry Slam. In addition, he has won the Outstanding Soloist award at the prestigious Midwest Jazz festival, was selected as a top 5 finalist in the Blues division of the Yamaha “Six String Theory” competition in 2011 and was voted Chicago’s Best Guitarist in 1989.