Here's round two from our guest blogger and Pink Martini super-fan, Jayne Glick. Jayne is a student at IUPUI at the Herron School of Art & Design, majoring in Visual Communication Design. She has been a Pink Martini fan for about five years.
I’ve been a Pink Martini fan for a while and although I know their albums well, I didn’t really know too much about the people in the band and how it all began. So I decided to do some research and share my results. Believe it or not, how they got started is quite an interesting story! To credit my resources, I found this information on Pink Martini’s website but I abbreviated for a quick, easy, and hopefully fun read!
Thomas Lauderdale, the creative visionary for Pink Martini, was once a wannabe politician hoping to one day run for mayor in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. In preparation, he started attending political events and began to realize that the music at these events was, in his opinion, “loud and un-neighborly.” So Lauderdale decided to solve that problem. He gathered and combined music from all over the world and crossing several genres like classical, jazz, and old-fashioned pop produced Pink Martini in 1994. The band initially fulfilled what Lauderdale founded it for. They provided entertainment for political fundraisers as well as for events for causes like civil rights, affordable housing, libraries, the environment, education, and more.
Lauderdale met China Forbes, Pink Martini’s lead vocalist, at Harvard where they both studied. “Actually neither of them really studied, they socialized … and late at night, they would break into the lower common room in their college dormitory and sing arias by Puccini and Verdi – and the occasional campy Barbara Streisand cover –thus sealing their creative collaboration.” Three years after graduating, Lauderdale called Forbes and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together for the band. Their first song “Sympathique” – with the chorus “Je ne veux pas travailler”(”I don’t want to work”) – became an overnight sensation in France, and was even nominated for “Song of the Year”at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards.
“Pink Martini draws inspiration from the romantic Hollywood musicals of the 1940s or ‘50s … with a more global perspective. We write a lot of songs … but we also champion [already written] songs...In that sense we’re a bit like musical archeologists, digging through recordings and scores of years past and rediscovering beautiful songs.”
“Both China Forbes and I come from multicultural families,” says Lauderdale. “All of us in Pink Martini have studied different languages as well as different styles of music from different parts of the world. So inevitably, because everyone has participated at some point in the writing or arranging of songs, our repertoire is wildly diverse. At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like an urban musical travelogue. We’re very much an American band, 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...”
If you’d like to see this amazing 12 piece “mini orchestra” perform eclectic, yet beautiful songs with the amazingly talented Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra I suggest you get tickets before they’re sold out! Come see them on Monday night and it will make the rest of your week. I know I can’t wait!
See you there!