By Debbie Hodges, writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
Most people know Cyndi Lauper for her flamboyant personality, multicolored hair, and the carefree sounds of her 1984 hit, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," which launched her career in the pop world.
Her debut album, "She's So Unusual," sold more than 9 million copies worldwide, and she has received awards from MTV, the American Music Awards, and the Grammys. Now, some 13 years later, she has just released her fifth album, "Sisters of Avalon." And starting May 1, Lauper will begin touring the United States with Tina Turner.
She says she is looking forward to traveling the US again to hear the variety of accents. "Those things are musical, those things are inspiring," she says. The diversity helps Lauper write songs. That's the stimulus - seeing other ways of life and trying to incorporate that into her songs. "In the '80s I tried to reflect what was around me," Lauper said in a telephone interview from New York. "It's important and urgent that we have new rhythms all the time," she adds, referring to her new album. At the height of her career in the mid-'80s, Lauper sang upbeat pop tunes about love, relationships, and having fun. She still deals with the same themes today, but has evolved into a more mature artist by experimenting with hip-hop, electro-reggae, and jazz. On "Sisters of Avalon," she weaves together six-strings and violin; drum loops and accordion; and synthesizers and mandolin. The album was written and recorded in Tennessee and Connecticut and finished in an old mansion in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., where she lived and worked at that time. Lauper says she loves to write and record music at her home. "It's your own thing. It's calm. You get up at 4 a.m. and record this guitar part," she says. To improve from her last album, "Hat Full of Stars," Lauper says she "needed it to be more cohesive." She accomplished this by writing with one person, not the usual crew of 10. And Lauper says she worked well with her writing partner, Jan Pulsford, who is one of her band members. …