Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women


on April 12, 2011

When I first pitched a music-themed week for the blog, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get exposed to some different music from my fellow blog-mates. I don’t know if that’s the direction they’ll be going in, but I’d at least like to share some of my current favorites you may not have heard of before.

I love music. As I’ve mentioned before, I was a band geek and spent over 10 years of my life in the theatre, with musicals being my favorite productions. Whether I’m doing chores, driving around in my car or surfing the net, chances are I have music playing in the background, or the foreground. That being said, I don’t really consider myself to be a “music person.” I’m not up to date on the latest hits or album releases and I couldn’t even guess when the Grammies are. I just enjoy listening to a variety of music, which fluctuates with my mood.

Being a child of the Pacific Northwest in the early 90s, my go-to band is Pearl Jam. I was devastated when they decided to come to Penn State the same semester I studied abroad. Sister was nice enough to purchase a recording of the concert and send it with a friend who was visiting me so I could at least hear it. My other favorites are Goo Goo Dolls and Five for Fighting. I’m not sure why – I think at a particular point in my life, those artists came out with an album that spoke to me for whatever reason. My dad was a big fan of Southern and 70s rock, so I have a soft spot for both of those genres. I also was one of the strangest little kids – I listened to Oldies music almost exclusively throughout elementary school.

Two artists I think need more props are Pink Martini and The Puppini Sisters. I learned of both of these groups on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Every now and then, they profile new album releases or artists that might be a bit off the beaten path. The segment is usually several minutes long and includes at least a few song clips.

I don’t even know how to describe Pink Martini so I went to their website for some help. This quote caught my eye:

“Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure … if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.” – Thomas Lauderdale, bandleader/pianist.

I think that about sums it up. On the one album I have, the lead vocal sings in English, Russian, Portuguese and French….and maybe Italian too. It’s pretty crazy, but it’s different and nothing like you hear anywhere else.

When you think of The Puppini Sisters, think of the Andrews Sisters, with a modern twist – beautiful harmonies and tight musicality, except they sing songs like the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian.” It’s just pure fun.

(sorry for the boring video. It had much better sound quality than the live shows)

And I close with some more thoughts from Pink Martini:

“Americans don’t really sing together anymore … except for church … or maybe the shower. At the turn of the 20th century, every middle-class American household had a piano. And it was the focal point of the house … people would gather around it and sing together. Music was something everyone participated in. Everyone played an instrument or sang … whether it was an American folk song like “Oh My Darling Clementine”or “Home On The Range”or an Irving Berlin song like “What’ll I Do”or Gershwin’s “Someone To Watch Over Me”, everybody knew the songs, knew the words, and could participate. But then the radio came, and then the television … and soon it was all over. For me, Pink Martini is partially an attempt to rebuild a culture which sings and dances.”


The week of April 25, Our View From Here will be holding its first virtual book club!  We will all be reading, and commenting on, the book Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.  Read along with us!


One response to “Oooh-way-Oh!

  1. Samantha says:

    Sister also left you a lengthy voice mail from the middle of “Even Flow” because she felt badly that you couldn’t be there! 🙂

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