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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Nov 28th, 2016

Pink Martini: Je dis oui!

pink-martiniPink Martini
Je dis oui!
(Heinz Records)

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In 1994, aspiring politician Thomas Lauderdale grew so sick of dull soundtracks at political fundraisers that he decided to form the band now known as Pink Martini as a way of providing better music for these events. A year later, Lauderdale and former Harvard classmate China Forbes began writing songs together. Their first song, “Sympathique,” would be nominated for Song of the Year at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards (its chorus – “Je ne veux pas travailler” or “I don’t want to work” – is still a mantra for French workers on strike). Among their successes over the past two decades are five gold albums in France, Canada, Greece, and Turkey, a certified platinum album in Japan, and inductions into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. For the group’s eighth full-length album, Dream a Little Dream, they collaborated with The von Trapps, the actual great-grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp, who inspired The Sound of Music. The siblings have frequently traveled with Pink Martini on tour since the album’s release.

With Je dis oui! – which translates from French as “I say yes” – the group continues to satisfy their audience’s desire for tastefully curated collections of music from all over the world. “Ov Sirun Sirun,” an Armenian folk song, features a chamber choir integrated with a soft piano accompaniment; “Kaj Kolah Khan,” a Persian pop song, combines woodwinds, brass, and a varied bass line; “Love for Sale” offers a fresh take on a show tune previously sung by Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald. On the subject of Pink Martini’s global appeal, Lauderdale has said that while they’re “very much an American band,” they “spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America.” By approaching their songwriting in a way that sees countries, languages, and religions not as boundaries but as diverse elements that can co-exist in harmony, they’ve created a style that blurs lines between songs from different cultures around the world.

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Pink Martini: Je dis oui!