Pink Martini: Splendor in the Grass

[13 December 2009]

By Steve Horowitz

International Language of Love

To call Pink Martini eclectic is like calling calculus complicated. Duh, that’s kind of the point. What else would one expect from a 14-piece ensemble who features a harp and a cello as well as congas and bongos or from an album that includes guest stars as varied as Luis from television’s Sesame Street on one tune (“Sing”) and Frida Kahlo’s 90-year-old former lover Chavela Vargas on another ( “Piensa en mi”)? The music is purposely international and cosmopolitan. Vocalist China Forbes sings in five different languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Neopolitan).

What ties everything together is the international language of love. These romantic songs come with heartstrings attached. The world stands still or shakes beneath you, depending on the object of one’s affection. Pink Martini turns life into a party where one drinks the Pepto-Bismol with a cocktail to avoid a hangover later. The mishmash works better than one might expect, like the ambitious district attorney/drag queen “Bitty Boppy Betty” who busts bad guys weekdays and busts out weekends. The mixture just makes life richer.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/116923-pink-martini-splendor-in-the-grass/