Lauper's sense of place evident as tour rolls in

Tim Malcolm

Cyndi Lauper recognizes where the world is today.

“I wanted to take a snapshot of right now, and that’s why it was in rhythm too,” she said about her newest album “Bring Ya to the Brink.” “Dance — now — it’s in the moment, and rhythm is change.”

“Bring Ya to the Brink” is her take of modern dance, and it echoes the call she wants to project when she brings her True Colors Tour Friday night to the Theater at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

The album is an expression of how Lauper feels now, set behind Euro-style rhythms and vocal treatments. The tour is her chance to tell everyone — with some of her friends — that the world lacks equality.

“We have this country of the many run by the few, and equality has eroded away,” she said. “I always thought equality meant the sum of equal parts.”

True Colors began last year and was received well enough to return with more shows in 2008. At the MGM Grand Lauper will be joined by Rosie O’Donnell, the B-52s, Tegan and Sara, the Clicks and host Carson Kressley.

“I love music, so of course when it’s your show you get to have your friends,” Lauper said. She was excited to see everyone on her tour — other acts not coming to Foxwoods include Regina Spektor, Wanda Sykes and Deborah Cox. “It’s pride month, it’s my birthday, we’ll have fun together,” she said, before adding non-chalantly, “I actually wear shoes this time.”

Yes, not lost in the advocacy is Lauper’s trademark off-kilter persona — the cute, high-pitched electricity in her voice; the sometimes unabashed wordplay and frankness; the unique sense of style. This is clearly the same female who broke barriers for women with her 1983 smash “She’s So Unusual,” which yielded mega-hits “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” “All Through the Night,” “Time After Time” and “She Bop.”

The infectousness she brought then is clearly evident now, as she relayed the usual problems with the first couple shows of a big tour.

“The first two shows it was like little silly stuff going on,” she said. “Like the wind is blowing, and the curtain is blowing and I’ll fix that, and the mic stands are in the wrong place but I tell them I can move them while I sing. I multitask. Things like that. A different teleprompter for the lyrics, and it’s so small it may as well be in braille.”

If those first shows — which occured last weekend — are any indication, those silly things won’t deter from a joyous five-hour celebration. Lauper created the tour to help advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, and to rally those Americans to vote, but the message is all-encompassing.

“Be educated just a bit, feel empowered, feel important,” Lauper said. “Your vote count. Listen to the music and have a good time.”

And back to that music. Lauper’s “Bring Ya to the Brink” was created during tours of Great Britain and Sweden. There, Lauper ran into successful Euro-pop producers and beatmakers Basement Jaxx, Digital Dog, Dragonette, Kleerup and Axwell. Her inspiration: British dance duo Goldfrapp.

“I heard ‘Ride a White Horse’ and I was really engaged by [Alison Goldfrapp], by the texture of her voice, the story she was telling, and it did not take away from the integrity of the music,” Lauper said. “It was a little on the sprase side and it was so modern.”

The album is a perfect marriage of Lauper’s high-pitched, stated vocals and the spacious, pounding atmosphere of Euro-pop. It’s modern, as Lauper wanted it, with messages that come full circle. That message is she recognizes where the world is today: at the brink.

“It all comes back to that title,” she said.

Reach Tim Malcolm at 860-425-4242 or tmalcolm@norwichbulletin.com