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In Key "Largo"

Cyndi Lauper and friends perform songs from a new collaborative album

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Joan Osborne, Cyndi Lauper and Sissel shared the stage at Manhattan’s Bottom Line Wednesday night to celebrate the release of “Largo,” a new CD of original pop songs based on classical composer Antonin Dvorak’s “From the New World” (Symphony No. 9). As Garth Hudson (from The Band) pumped a blood-red accordion, Osborne sang the soulful “An Uncommon Love,” aided by friends Lauper and Sissel on background vocals. Between songs, a jovial Lauper, who gave birth to a son six months ago, pleaded, “Give me some lighting that’s gonna make me look thin!”

Backstage, Osborne said that her recent trip to India to perform for the Dalai Lama influenced the songs on her upcoming solo album (due out in September). “I’ve been studying Indian music, and I tried to incorporate what I’ve learned into some of the melodies, the rhythms and the vocals,” she told EW Online. “They’re still rock songs, but they’re a cross between hillbilly and Indian music.”

Sissel, the Norwegian chart-topper who gained fame in the U.S. for her otherworldly vocals on the “Titanic” soundtrack, said “folks back home in Scandinavia are pretty calm [about “Titanic”], not like they are here.” But it was Lauper who best summed up the star-studded evening: “Who woulda thunk when I was just a lost little kid — way back when — watching The Band at Watkins Glen that one day I’d be singing with Garth Hudson? Ya gotta love it!”

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