Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

May/June 2011: Wynton Marsalis (Festival Edition)

Pink Martini

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Founder of Pink Martini, Thomas Lauderdale, describes their repertoire as widely diverse. “At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro,” he says, “and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli.”

The birth of Pink Martini was a unique one. Lauderdale formed the band in 1994 to provide a more beautiful and comprehensive selection of music for political fundraisers for progressive causes. He had met China Forbes, the band’s singer, when they were both students at Harvard, and she flew across the country for the first gig. They’ve never looked back. Their first song, “Sympathique,” became an overnight sensation in France, and they were suddenly an internationally recognized band.

Lauderdale describes Pink Martini’s multi-lingual repertoire as “an urban musical travelogue,” and they’ve performed all over the world. “We’re very much an American band,” Lauderdale says, “but we spend a lot of time abroad…and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent—through our repertoire and our concerts—a broader, more inclusive America.”

What appeals to me most about Pink Martini is their playfulness. Hearing them makes you want to sing and dance—it’s very freeing. I think that’s their hope. For them, every concert is another step toward rebuilding a culture that sings and dances.

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