Epic art-indie-Weimar, part Kate Bush, part PJ Harvey, with Roxy Music's dress sense.
Marcella first found recognition as the founder of the Puppini Sisters, the close-harmony trio cherished around the world for their ability to take any song and imbue it with the charm, poise and swing of 1940s pop.
But this is another Marcella Puppini – an altogether darker proposition.
This Marcella sings of dirty old men flashing at teenage girls and of manifestations of the devil in the Italian countryside, and leads a nine-piece band whose members are every bit as dazzling as their frontwoman.
The two Marcellas seem so unlike, they might be different people. But this is typical of Marcella’s ability to metamorphose, her quest for self-reinvention. It started when she abandoned an idyllic existence in Bologna, Italy, for London and the notoriously fraught life of a fashion student at Central St Martins School of Art. In Italy, she was a lady cultured in the classics: ancient Greek, Latin, the history of art. In London, she transformed herself into a doyenne of modern punk, graduating from her degree course to a place in Vivienne Westwood’s production team.
But deep down, what Marcella really wanted to be was a singer. She sang throughout her teens: in covers bands, in madrigal choirs, in an all-girl punk outfit called Dead Sex Kitten. And after two years with Vivienne Westwood, Marcella knew it was time to shed another skin. She turned her back on fashion and embarked on a new degree, in jazz performance and composition at Trinity College of Music, which led to a successful stint as a jazz singer.
It was during this time that Marcella encountered the new burlesque scene, the alternative performance artists transforming cabaret for the 21st century. Here was the catalyst for another reinvention. Marcella began collaborating with similarly strong-willed and provocative female artists and entrepreneurs, including Marisa Carnesky and the Whoopee Club, for whom she became the in-house songwriter and musical director.
And, with two friends from Trinity, she formed the Puppini Sisters, a tongue-in-cheek trio modelled on the Andrews Sisters, who dressed in meticulous vintage outfits and sang modern pop – anything from Beyonce’s Crazy in Love to, their piece de resistance, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights – in a gorgeously fluid, exquisitely harmonised style.
The Puppini Sisters almost pinned Marcella down. The trio became dizzyingly popular, earning a gold disc for their debut album and performing around the globe. But at the height of this success, Marcella began plotting her next, most challenging, reinvention.
Something decadent, extravagant, fierce.
And so Marcella and the Forget Me Nots were born.
Marcella Puppini: Voice, Songwriting, Piano, Keyboard
Ping Lee: Guitar
Pato Vidal: Bass
Amy Kelly: Percussion, Drums
Kati Lawrence: Bass Clarinet, Clarinet
Geri Mc Ewan: Violin
Paloma Deike: Violin
Wei Wei Fraser: Viola
Maral Mohammadi: Cello