City of Night
Cante E Dance
Dosvedanya Mio Bombino
Tea For Two
The album shines throughout — from the golden-era Hollywood melody of “Everywhere” to the French cabaret of “Ojala.” Other collaborations anchor the set as well: Forbes’ sister Maya co-authored the pan-world “Dosvedanya Mio Bombino” with its globetrotting latin-meets-Russian beat supplied by the March Fourth Marching Band plus the Forbes-Lauderdale penned sexy sway of “City of Night.” Bassist Phil Baker adds the quiet beauty of “Cante e Dance,” and Peruvian percussionist Martin Zarzar debuts the romantically complex “Mar Desconocido.” “It’s like a song from a Pedro Almodovar film,” says Lauderdale, “with an excerpt of a Chopin waltz in the middle of it.”
The band also mines the past for hidden gems, including the Japanese-language track “Taya Tan,” a hypnotically precise reworking (with a hint of early seventies Japanese film noir) of the Japanese Saori Yuki hit. The band is joined by The Jefferson High School Gospel Choir on “Tempo Perdido,” the 1934 Carmen Miranda song. “We like to perform and record songs of the past when we feel we have something new to say about them,” says Lauderdale, “and Tempo Perdido is a forgotten treasure.”
“Bukra wba’do” is our first attempt to sing in Arabic,” says Lauderdale. “Its title means ‘tomorrow and the day after’ – it’s about a lover’s anticipation to a first date. Our dear friend, Dr. Dirgham Sbait, who is Professor of Arabic at Portland State University, guided China and the band members, as well as 25 Oregonians who sing the chorus, through the pronunciation. We were inspired by the idea of a town square gathering to sing, but in Arabic. Our recording of this Abdel Halim Hafez song is reminiscent of those Bolly-wood songs — Lawrence of Arabia crossed with a technicolor musical.”
Meanwhile, “Hey Eugene,” a fan favorite at concerts for years, finally makes its recording debut. The title track written by Forbes (about a boy she met at a party who asked for her number and then never called) will be the first single from the album.
Finally, jazz legend Jimmy Scott makes a stunning vocal guest appearance in a duet with Forbes on the closing track “Tea for Two,” written by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar in 1925 for the musical “No, No, Nanette.” “Everybody learned from [Jimmy Scott],” exclaims Lauderdale. “From Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin to Michael Jackson, he was Billie Holiday’s favorite singer. He’s my favorite singer of all time, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I found his number in the telephone book. ‘Tea for Two’ is one of my favorite moments with the band ever. A simple and slow and lovely lullaby.”
Hey Eugene! has sold over 350,000 copies world wide and gone gold in France & Turkey. It debuted at #1 on Amazon, #30 on Billboard Top 200, #9 on iTunes top albums.