© 2022 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Puppini Sisters' Lament In Three-Part Harmony

A bassist plucks the big fiddle's strings and makes them moan. Drumsticks tap out a languid beat. Then a sad woman begins her story of woe: "I bought another dinner for one / I sit and watch some pointless rerun..." Two other singers join her to lament their fate: "Jilted... again." They'd even sat through football games to keep him! Now, the jiltees are engaging in classic self-destructive behavior, from "drinking gin" to "talking to the cat."

Welcome to the unpredictable world of The Puppini Sisters. The group's members aren't siblings, but they sing in close enough harmony that they might as well be conjoined triplets. (Only one is actually named Puppini.) Their shtick is to take the style of The Andrews Sisters and add postmodern zing, which can mean a crazy, violin-driven version of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" or the outstanding original tune "Jilted," which sounds like a confessional column from a Swing Era edition of Cosmo.

When singing "Jilted," each sister pulls off the neat trick of keeping tongue in cheek while still sounding as if she means every word. Even when those words are, to quote the song's trumpety coda, "Wah, wah, wah, wah."

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

This story originally ran on March 27, 2008.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.