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In 1994, in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale was working in politics, thinking he would run for mayor one day. Like other eager politicians-in-training, he went to every political fundraiser under the sun… but was dismayed to find the music at these events underwhelming, lackluster, loud, and un-neighborly. Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world—crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop—and hoping to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, he founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini in 1994. His aim? To provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers supporting causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education, and parks.
One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate living in New York City, and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together. Their first, “Sympathique,” was an overnight sensation in France and nominated for Song of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Awards. To this day, it remains a mantra for striking workers: “Je ne veux pas travailler (I don’t want to work)”.
Pink Martini has sold well over 3 million albums worldwide on their own independent label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale’s dog). In 2016, Pink Martini released its ninth studio album, Je dis oui!, which features vocals from China Forbes, Storm Large, Ari Shapiro, fashion guru Ikram Goldman, civil rights activist Kathleen Saadat, and Rufus Wainwright. The album’s 15 tracks span eight languages (French, Farsi, Armenian, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Xhosa and English), and affirm the band’s history of global inclusivity and collaborative spirit. In 2019, Pink Martini collaborated on a new release with the international singing sensation Meow Meow, entitled Hotel Amour, and also released two 5-song EPs, Besame Mucho, featuring regular guest singer Edna Vazquez, and Tomorrow, featuring regular guest singer Jimmie Herrod, a finalist on 2021’s season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. During their pandemic hiatus, the band released two new digital singles written by Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes, and producer Jim Bianco, “Let’s Be Friends,” and “The Lemonade Song,” which has over 10 million streams on Spotify alone. Tickets range from $44-$59.00. Performance starts at 8:00 PM. Please click website link for more information.