Gilli Smyth (born June 1, 1933) a musician who performed with the bands Gong, Mother Gong and Planet Gong as well as several solo albums and albums in collaborations other members of Gong. In Gong, she often performed under the name Shakti Yoni contributing poems and space whispers.
Smyth has three degrees from King's College London, where she gained notoriety as the outspoken sub-editor of "Kings News", a college magazine. After a brief spell teaching at the Sorbonne (Paris) (where she became bilingual), she began doing performance poetry with well-known English jazz-rock group Soft Machine, founded by her partner and long-time collaborator, Daevid Allen, in 1968.
She co-founded Gong with Allen. Smyth was the only female voice in a line up of musicians later including Steve Hillage, Pierre Moerlen and Didier Malherbe. She portrayed a prostitute, mother, witch and old woman. This became part of the cult mythology, which was written into sixteen albums that were produced. Gong developed into a family of bands, including Gongmaison and Mother Gong. Mother, her 1979 solo album, led to Smyth founding Mother Gong having left the original Gong band in 1975 to have children.
Mother Gong toured internationally in 1979-1981 and 1989-1991, either headlining or supporting such artists as Bob Dylan and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Smyth appeared as a solo performer and lecturer at the Starwood Festival in the early 1990s. She has also done voice-overs for commercials, taped children's books and other books and poetry, given workshops on voice projection and voice as a confidence raiser, and has performed for many women's groups.
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.