Cosmo Cosmolino is an outgrowth of David Bridie's Australian chamber pop band My Friend the Chocolate Cake. In 1995, the group's violinist, Hope Csutoros, and cellist, Helen Mountfort, began composing and arranging music together with accordion player and vocalist Judy Gunson. After taking their name from the title of a novel by Kiwi writer Helen Garner, Cosmo Cosmolino started performing as a trio. The subsequent additions of Dan Witton, a double bass specialist described by the band as their "dancing bass player," and second violinist Andrea Keeble, another Bridie collaborator, expanded the group into a string quartet with accordion. Their repertoire, which consists primarily of original instrumental compositions interspersed with occasional vocal pieces and innovative arrangements of popular orchestral works, is a lively blend of tango, European gypsy music, and jazz-influenced improvisation. The ensemble released its debut CD, Streetsweeper, in 2000.