By Allison Elder
One type of music that I think is great fun is the kind that I hear and think, "This would be great at a cocktail party." Sometime the cocktail party might actually be just a little happy hour at home, celebrating the end of the work week with my husband∨ it might be we have friends coming over and we feel like having a drink and putting on something snappy to set the mood. In recent years, I've come to enjoy some music of this type that is produced with a cross-cultural and cross-generational flavor. Two favorites of mine are Pink Martini and Paris Combo. These groups are a great starting point for a compare and contrast pairing party. Pink Martini has three CDs out, and all of them are great. This group is out of Portland, Oregon, and has been an international touring sensation in recent years. Pink Martini is a large group, and many of the members are classically trained musicians. Their lush arrangements cover a variety of musical territory - for example, the first album contains both Ravel's "Bolero" and "Que Sera Sera." The wonderful lead vocalist, China Forbes, sings in several languages. Paris Combo has a nifty, swinging French or European vibe. Again, their songs cover a broad musical spectrum, with unique instrumentation and many languages. One moment is a classic sounding piece, the next might be a French café type song, and the next, a lively tune with a polka feel. A variety of wine pairings would work for this music - but it would be particularly appropriate to choose Williamette Valley Oregon wines in honor of Pink Martini, and French wines as a nod to Paris Combo. Brie or Camembert cheese along with some summer fruit and baguette slices or crackers, good wine, and this fun, lively music will jump start your happy hour - or your happy evening!
Wines: Oregon Red - Fiddlehead Pinot Noir, Oldsville Reserve 2001; French Red - Hugel et Fils Pinot Noir Jubilee 2003; Oregon White - Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve; French White - Las Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon Chardonnay Clos del la Crochette
Music: 1) Pink Martini - "Sympthique," "Hang on Little Tomato" or "Hey Eugene!" and 2) Paris Combo - "Attraction" or "Motifs"
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