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Pink Martini's Dark Take on a Doris Day Classic

You probably know it as such a happy song. But Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera," as performed by Pink Martini, might make you feel downright blue.

The group has a dozen players known for almost perfect musicianship, singing in many languages — and a slightly demented sense of humor.

Lead singer China Forbes explains the group's version of "Que Sera Sera" from the 1997 album, Sympathique:

"We take a song that is very familiar and completely turn it upside down and put it in [a minor key] and make it dark," she tells Steve Inskeep.

That might be what "Que Sera Sera" has always deserved.

Pink Martini's music director, Thomas Lauderdale, notes that this dippy tune comes from Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, which revolves around a kidnapped child. The film starred Doris Day, who sang the original version of "Whatever Will Be, Will Be."

"It was written specifically for the film, and Doris Day hated the song, according to folklore," Lauderdale says. "But, of course, it became her huge hit. I feel like that song is both melancholy and hopeful."

On Tuesday, we'll hear music from the new CD Hey Eugene! as the group performed it in NPR's Studio 4A.

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