Seattle’s April music scene: Pink Martini to Nirvana

We dare you: find two groups whose approaches to pop music were any more different than Pink Martini and Nirvana. Go ahead, be quick about it.

Both groups appear in Seattle during the coming days – one in the flesh, the other though its artifacts.

Pink Martini performs its all-but-patented repertoire of classic pop, and multilingual magic April 20 with the Seattle Symphony. The sound is unabashedly sensuous and musically innovative – all in the same instant. Pacific Northwesterners love this group.

Nirvana just may be Pink Martini’s polar opposite. Yet it’s embedded even deeper in the musical mythos of this part of the country. From the city that gave us grunge, came a sound so depressingly soulful that it caught the imagination of a generation. Grunge isn’t dead, not—at least—at the Experience Music Project, better known locally as EMP. April 16 through April 22 EMP is showcasing Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. See rare, heretofore unseen, pieces from the band, their families.

Nirvana singer, songwriter and guitarist Kurt Cobain is a focal point of the exhibit. Band co-founder Krist Novoselic puts it succinctly: “There a story with Nirvana at its center, but it’s also a story that includes the many people, bands and institutions that make up a music community” in the Pacific Northwest.

Among the pieces on display at EMP:

  • Cobain’s never-before-seen painting of a pair of Reagan-era punks in the post-apocalypse.
  • The reel-to-reel recorder on which Cobain recorder his early works.
  • Cobain’s hand-written lyrics for a number of Nirvana tunes.
  • Cobain’s yellow cardigan sweater.
  • Scores of candid snapshots of the band’s early years.

If it’s musical diversity you’re after, nothing quite strikes the chords of EMP’s Nirvana presentation – counterpoised with the Seattle Symphony’s collaboration with Pink Martini. Both of them are there for the taking.

Story by Jerry Chandler

(Image: dherrera_96)