Album Remarks & Appraisals:
15 new songs from Portland, Oregon's globe-trotting "little orchestra" *featuring three brand new originals, written for the acclaimed French film _Souvenir_ starring Isabelle Huppert, and coming to North American theaters in December 2016 *NPR's _All Things Considered_ host, the dashing Ari Shapiro, is back for his third album with Pink Martini *Caramel-voiced Rufus Wainwright contributes a memorable rendition of "Blue Moon" *Featuring songs in 8 languages, including the band's first forays into Armenian and Xhosa!
Audio Mixers: Steve Sundholm; Dave Friedlander.
Recording information: B-Side Studios, Portland, Oregon (05/2016-08/2015); Dead Aunt Thelma's, Portland, Oregon (05/2016-08/2015); Kung Fu Bakery, Portland, Oregon (05/2016-08/2015).
After spending a couple of years touring in support of their von Trapp collaboration Dream a Little Dream, Pink Martini cast their sights and sounds farther with Je Dis Oui! This is one of the little orchestra's most globetrotting collections, whether they're combining Japanese instrumentation with Portuguese songcraft on "Solidao" or singing in any of the other seven languages represented here, including a foray into Xhosa with a cheery rendition of Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata." Where they flirted with kitsch on Dream a Little Dream, this time Pink Martini draw inspiration from cinematic glamour. Three of Je Dis Oui!'s songs were written for the 2016 film Souvenir, which stars Isabelle Huppert as a forgotten Eurovision contestant, and they anchor the album. "Joli Garçon" kicks things off with vibrantly optimistic French pop; "Souvenir"'s brass and swirling harp lend a sultry touch; and "Fini la Musique" sends the album into its home stretch with Édith Piaf-worthy drama. As always, in Pink Martini's world, traditional doesn't mean predictable. The band excels at bringing fresh perspectives to old favorites on Je Dis Oui! with a little help from their friends: Rufus Wainwright's "Blue Moon" is one of the most serene tracks here, while Kathleen Saadat's growling alto gives "Love for Sale" an extra urgency. The group also takes time to reflect on its own traditions, with longtime collaborator and NPR journalist Ari Shapiro taking the lead on "Finnisma Di," an Arabic version of "La Soledad" from their 1997 debut, Sympathique. Nearly 20 years later, Je Dis Oui! is one of Pink Martini's most cohesive and welcoming expressions of their globally minded pop. ~ Heather Phares