I love discovering new music, especially when it happens by accident. Yesterday I was alone in my apartment singing whatever happened to pop into my head. I never sing in front of other people, but I have a descent singing voice that I exercise regularly purely for my own entertainment. It helps to cut the quiet when I’m alone, and singing seems less crazy than talking to myself.
♫ “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens / Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens / Brown paper packages tied up with strings / These are a few of my favorite things…” ♫
Yes, it’s a slightly embarrassing song choice, but it’s important to the story of how I discovered POMPLAMOOSE. In a fleeting moment of fantasy, a daydream, I envisioned myself recording a cover version of the classic tune from THE SOUND OF MUSIC, putting my own spin on it. Since I don’t sing in public - not even karaoke - and I don’t play any musical instruments, I quickly snapped back to reality. But my curiosity was piqued and I wondered who had been brave enough, or talented enough, to record a cover. So I Googled: “favorite things.”
The video results caught my eye. I clicked on the first video with the female singer uploaded by PomplamooseMusic. The video began in black and white with a girl singing, then another panel of her singing was added, and another until she was harmonizing with herself A capella in triplicate on the screen. After the first verse, the video burst into color. All of the instruments and vocals were recorded by two people, Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte, then layered and edited together creating a dynamic, quirky sound and a unique visual style.
The duo known as Pomplamoose (a name derived from the French word for grapefruit – pamplemousse) have become an Internet sensation covering everything from Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” - each with over 5 million hits - to Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” (in French) and my personal favorite, The Chordettes’ “Mister Sandman.” It’s hard to classify their sound but I’d say Pomplamoose is an Indie blend of Folk-infused Pop.
A few months ago, Pomplamoose collaborated with musician Ben Folds and author/lyricist Nick Hornsby on the song, “Things You Think.” Hornsby adds an interesting spoken word component to the tune, contributing facts and statistics about literature and book publishing. (Side note: I had the opportunity to see Ben Folds live in concert back in 2005. He often plays the piano while standing, pounding the keys with such intensity that he has to wear special Band-Aids on the ends of his fingertips to stop them from becoming a bloody mess on the ivories. It’s quite something.)
Now, go play on YouTube. Pomplamoose will keep you busy for a while.