UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Pink Martini to kick off this holiday season. The Pink Martini holiday spectacular featuring singer China Forbes takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m. in the Arlington Theatre.
“Their ageless music has only gotten bolder and farther-reaching on the nine albums Pink Martini has made, while never shedding the sense of joy around which its sounds revolves,” states NPR.
Pink Martini is a “little orchestra” that draws inspiration from classic Hollywood musicals and crosses genres to make an eclectic, modern sound. The group effortlessly combines Latin music, jazz, cabaret and more. The vibrant group is guaranteed to have the audience dancing in the aisles. Featured singer, China Forbes, returns again this year to headline the show. She performs music around the world accompanied by the ensemble’s unsurpassed musicianship and infectious joie de vivre. Their ninth studio album release, Je dis oui! displays their formidable talent and wide-ranging influences.
In 1994, in his hometown of Portland, Thomas Lauderdale was working in politics and planning to eventually run for mayor. Like his peers in his field, he went to virtually every political fundraiser presented to him but was disappointed to find the music at these events underwhelming and old-fashioned pop. In hopes of having bipartisan appeal, he founded Pink Martini in 1994 to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes like civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks.
A year later in 1995, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City at the time and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to compose songs together. Their first one was called “Sympathique” and it became an overnight sensation in France. It was even nominated for Song of the Year at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards and to this day remains a mantra (“Je ne veux pas travailler” or “I don’t want to work”) for French workers on strike.
“We’re very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America… the American which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world… composed of people of every country, every language, every religion,” says Lauderdale.
Pink Martini features 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. The group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Since then, the band has gone on to play around the globe with more than 50 different orchestras in multiple engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return sold-out engagements for New Year’s Eve 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011. They also did four sold out concerts and Carnegie Hall, the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Governor’s Ball at the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008, the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia, the Montreal Jazz Festival, two sold out concerts at Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theatre and Paris fashion house Lanvin’s 10-year anniversary celebration for designer Alber Elbaz in 2012. In its 20th year, Pink Martini was inducted to the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
For more information, visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu or call 805/893-3535.