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Pink Martini Vocalist Visits French IA Class

Photo of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photo by flickr user xlibber.

“Never take work from another artist without knowing where it came from. That’s what we did with Sympathique, and we got sued. But I don’t regret it. That’s was our first hit,” China Forbes, lead singer of the euro/pop band Pink Martini said.

Forbes was invited by Foreign Language instructor Zara Bennett  to speak to Marlborough’s French IA class on Nov. 21 about traveling, the perks of being multilingual, and the specific benefits of speaking French. Forbes sings in in 15 different languages, including Portuguese, Japanese and Arabic.

“How many languages am I fluent in? One. English. I suppose I speak French well, but I can never quite get past a certain level unless I live in France,” Forbes said.

After initial introductions and words of wisdom (“Don’t smoke! I know the song says it, but it’s really a joke, I’m a singer!”), Forbes taught the students the lyrics to the chorus Pink Martini’s Symapathique, a song that Forbes calls a favorite because the name does not translate into English.

“It’s like simpatico, in Spanish. But there really is no English equivalent. It’s not sympathetic, and it goes beyond nice. That’s why it’s important to learn another language. So you can express yourself fully,” Forbes said.