World Music
4:38 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

"Get Happy" With Pink Martini's Latest

The latest release by Pink Martini--and true to Martini form--is called ‘Get Happy.’ But in this case, the title does not say it all, as many of the songs are full of pathos and as in the Charlie Chaplin classic, ‘Smile,’ with singer Phyllis Diller, which is almost heartbreaking to listen to, as Ms. Diller died some months after recording the song, at age 95. However that’s not to say ‘Get Happy’ is a sad album. It’s a really lovely and entertaining piece of work. As I listened to it track by track from beginning to end, I felt as if I was attending a really wonderful concert. No doubt the plethora of guest artists contributed to that feeling.

Nothing intrigues me more than songs in foreign languages, and Pink Martini are always able to provide a variety. Vocalist China Forbes, who has a degree from Harvard University, has sung in twelve different languages, though she admits to only speaking two--rusty French and Italian. The others she learns phonetically. On ‘Get Happy, she shares singing duties with Storm Large, a former rocker, and between them they sing in Farsi, Romanian, Turkish, German, French and Spanish. The track, ‘I’m waiting for you to come back’ is in Mandarin and sung by Meow Meow (AKA Melissa Madden a British, Australian born singer). Also contributing singing chops are Ari Shapiro (yes, the NPR correspondent!) on ‘Yo Te Quiero Siempre.’ A Japanese ‘Zundoko–bushi’ is performed by Timothy Nishimoto and Robert Taylor sings, in English, ‘She was too good to me.’ ‘Kitty come home’ was written in 1977 and was a plea for Kate McGarrigle, who had just separated from Loudon Wainwright, her then husband, to come back home to Canada, the words penned by her sister, Anna. On ‘Get Happy’ it is sung by Rufus Wainwright, and members of the singing Von Trapp Family—yes, the same ones from ‘The Sound of Music!’ All in all this is a really satisfying album I’ll listen to it again and again.