A cocktail to savor
Pink Martini brings its upscale jazzy lounge act to Prague
Posted: September 25, 2013
Courtesy Photo: Autumn de Wilde
Pianist Thomas Lauderdale and singer China Forbes.
We've all been to some allegedly fancy event, whether it is a wedding or some corporate shindig that we've been dragged to, just to find that the music is as flat and generic as the so-called Champagne.
Pianist Thomas Lauderdale had just that experience too many times and he decided to do something about it. He was involved in politics and was unhappy about what he heard at fundraisers and charitable events. To combat the "unclassy and kitchy" background music he established his own little orchestra called Pink Martini in 1994. Their first single, "Sympathique," which he made with his friend China Forbes, became an overnight sensation in France.
The band crosses genres from classical music to Latin, jazz and classical pop. "All of us in Pink Martini have studied different languages as well as different styles of music from different parts of the world. ... Inevitably, 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," Lauderdale said in a press release. Lead singer China Forbes sings in more than 15 world languages.
"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 America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world … composed of people of every country, every language, every religion," he said.
When: Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.
Where: Lucerna Music Bar
Tickets: 590 Kč
UK newspaper The Times has called them "one of the world's most elegant live bands." The New York Times also lavished praise. "[Pink Martini] delivers a knowing sophistication backed by skillful arrangements. … Ms. Forbes is an unpretentious, pitch-perfect chanteuse who can be breathy and girlish or sultry. … She tempers heartbreak with savoir-faire," the newspaper said.
If the name doesn't ring a bell, you may have heard their songs in films including Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the TV series The Sopranos or advertisements for Microsoft. Their Joy to the World holiday album was sold in Starbucks,
To date, the group has released five albums that have gone gold in France, Canada, Greece and Turkey, and have sold well over 2.5 million copies worldwide. On Sept. 24 the band is releasing a new album titled Get Happy. The current tour is to support that album. It includes the single "Smile" with Phyllis Diller, which was recorded shortly before she passed away in 2012. Other guests on the album include Rufus Wainwright with the von Trapps, singer Storm Large and reporter Ari Shapiro. Large filled in as lead singer in the group in 2011 when Forbes had to undergo surgery on her vocal cords.
Pink Martini made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. Since then, the band has performed with more than 50 orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London, according to the bands official bio. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return visits for New Year's Eve 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011.
In New York they had two sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall and played the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Across the ocean they had two sold-out concerts at Paris' legendary L'Olympia Theatre in 2011.
Raymond Johnston can be reached at
Tags: Pink Martini, Sopranos, Microsoft, Carnegie Hall.