On the opening track of Pink Martini‘s latest album, lead singer China Forbes croons, “Everywhere I go, I see a world designed for you and me”—and every time you spin the record, you hear songs from all over the world. This Saturday, one lone performance at Massey Hall will echo in a mass of different languages, sung in a million more exquisite styles.
Says founder and artistic director Thomas M. Lauderdale of the unique Pink Martini sound: “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 are suddenly in a French music hall of the 1930s or in a palazzo in Napoli. It’s like an urban musical travelogue.” And he’s not just tooting his own horn—the band, which contains a trombone, trumpet, piano, violin, and all worldly forms of percussion, enhances Forbes’ voice as she sings in English, French, Japanese, and Arabic—and that’s just on 2007 release Hey Eugene! And though such a risky fusion might seem like a worldwide catastrophe in theory, in practice, it sounds more like a beautifully-crafted world symphony, with a cosmopolitan flair.
Lauderdale, a classically-trained pianist, first played with Forbes while they studied at Harvard in the early 90s. Both graduated cum laude, and Forbes continued singing, recording the theme song for the T.V. series Clueless. A couple years later, the two starring members of Pink Martini stirred up a couple tunes together and shook the world, namely France, upon the 1997 release of their French-titled debut album and same-named hit single, Sympathique.
Their quirky and adorable video for the album’s title track is posted on their website, alongside streaming songs from all three of the groups’ releases.
The Pink Martini plays the old Massey Hall at 8 p.m. this Saturday, as part of the band’s three-month, 29-city tour of North America. Tickets range between $29.50 and $49.50.