Pink Martini Singer To Have Surgery on Vocal Chords

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Opera singers are famously cautious about their voices, sitting around drinking green tea and getting fat eating bon bons. But singers of all stripes can the ultimate creative and professional nightmare where your instrument breaks down, including Sir Elton John. Now you can add Pink Martini's China Forbes to the list.

According to an announcement on the band's website: "It is with great concern we announce the news that our singer China Forbes must take an extended leave of absence of at least one year to undergo surgery on her vocal cords. China had initially discovered the injury to her voice earlier this year, and it was hoped that extreme vocal rest would heal her. But after careful consultation and on the advice from multiple specialists, she has made the difficult decision to move forward with surgery."

The Portland, Oregon-based little big band numbers at about a dozen members (depending on the gig), but is led by Forbes and pianist Thomas Lauderdale, who met as undergrads at Harvard and started the band for fun. Its first gig was a political fundraiser, but the band caught on quickly and album sales have soared to over a million at this point, even though they put out their own records.

The band plays a sophisticated blend of traditional big band jazz, lounge, Latin, classical, pop, classic cinema soundtrack, and folk styles from around the world. Forbes is adept at singing in 14-15 languages (ranging from English to Portuguese to Arabic to Japanese), allowing the band to transcend the kitsch factor that would have bogged down lesser units.

The band has subsequently announced that it will replace Forbes on its summer North American tour and fall European tour with a statuesque someone named Storm Large. While she appeared as a contestant on Rockstar Supernova, there is a video on her site of a country pop original, "Eight Miles Wide," which has a catchy tongue-in-cheek chorus, "My vagina is eight miles wide, absolutely everyone can come inside."

China get well soon, please. We already miss you.   

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Tad Hendrickson has been a music journalist since 1996. A freelance writer based in Jersey City, New Jersey, he’s covered music of all genres as well as literature, the arts, food and real estate. His work has appeared in such publications as Elle, the London Financial Times, the Newark Star-Ledger,…

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