Last year may have been a quiet one for Pink Martini but it was a life-changing 12 months for lead singer China Forbes, who released her second solo album ’78 in February 2008 and gave birth to her first child, a son, in March 2009. You’d think she’d rest up a while but apparently not as the Portland, Oregon lounge-pop collective has regrouped for the upcoming release of their fourth album Splendor In The Grass on October 13th, and have recently recorded some live sessions with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra with the view to putting out a record currently pencilled in for an early 2010 release.
Continuing in the hugely varied vein of 2007′s critically acclaimed Hey Eugene!, Splendor In The Grass will feature a duet between China and ‘Sesame Street’ actor Emilio Delgado on a bilingual version of ‘Sing’, the ‘Sesame Street’ number made famous by The Carpenters’ 1973 cover, and a version of 1970s Italian pop song ‘Tuca Tuca’ featuring sitar. According to founder member Thomas Lauderdale, the title track is said to be inspired by poets William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman, with “a little bit of Tchaikovsky” and is “very different than anything we’ve ever released…It’s more like an early 70′s pop ballad.”
Speaking to Billboard.com, Thomas said that the album recalls the energy of the band’s 1997 debut Sympathique, and is “hopefully more cohesive than [Hey Eugene!]“. The final tracklist for Splendor In The Grass has yet to be decided, and there is talk of getting some special guests – unconventional ones, of course – to contribute some vocals. The Billboard article mentions 90 year old Mexican rancheras singer Chavela Vargas and National Public Radio network correspondent Ari Shapiro.
The band have just released a new 17-track live DVD, Discover The World, filmed at a special gig at Portland’s historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with guest appearances from koto player Masumi Timson and Brazilian marching band, Lions Of Batacuda, and originally aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting in March 2006.