It’s almost hard to fathom that a political fundraiser could inspire a musical movement, but that was just the forum that Thomas Lauderdale found himself in when he created Pink Martini.
In 1994 Lauderdale was living in his hometown of Portland with ambitions of throwing his hat in the ring for mayor, and as such was making the rounds of political shindigs. But rather than raising his profile in the world of politics, the experience touched his creative soul. Dismayed at the underwhelming and lackluster tunes at the functions, Lauderdale sought to create music that would appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, while serving as the soundtrack for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. And with that, Pink Martini was born.
Pink Martini's "little orchestra" draws inspiration from the romantic
Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and '50s and crosses genres to make an eclectic, modern sound. Their arrangements of Latin music, jazz, cabaret and cinema scores come together in a sound that defies categorization.
Pink Martini will be performing at the Turlock Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets for the show are $39, $55, and $65 and are available at www.turlocktheatre.org.
Pink Martini features about a dozen musicians and performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America.
One year after forming Pink Martini, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together. Their first song
“Sympathique” became an overnight sensation in France, was nominated for “Song of the Year” at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards.
Pink Martini’s newest album “Je Dis Oui,” which translates to “I Say Yes” in French, features guest artists Ari Shapiro, Ikram Goldman, Kathleen Saadat, and Rufus Wainwright.
The title was drawn from a refrain in the chorus of “Joli Garcon.”
“This is the happiest album we’ve made in years,” said Lauderdale.” If the United Nations had a house band in 1962, we aspire to be that band.”
As the group has traveled the world over the last couple of decades, the mission of uniting people in music has remained a key goal.
“What we try to do is find the commonalities among us all,” said Lauderdale. “Our job is to get everyone so inspired by the music that they’ll be up and participating in a conga line by the end of the show.”