“Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure … if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.”
Not quite like anything else on the airwaves today, Pink Martini is a "little orchestra" of a band. It claims heritage from Portland, Oregon, and Harvard University, and draws musical inspiration from all over the world. They cultivate a classic vibe reminiscent of the 1940's or 50's. While they cover charming old songs like "Brazil" and "Amado Mio," China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale also write plenty of their own material, with frequently hilarious results. As they gather members from all over the world, they regularly perform in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Neapolitan, and many other languages. They have toured the world, and boast such impressive gigs as opening the Walt Disney Concert Hall (its first non-classical music act).
Defining their music is a bit more difficult. Pink Martini is a weird postmodern classical retro-kitsch international-lounge/Tropicália jazz outfit
which they themselves have described as "music for children and dogs."Whatever it is, it sounds great.
They currently have five albums: Sympathique
, Hang On Little Tomato, Hey, Eugene!
and Splendor In The Grass,
plus a Christmas*
album, Joy to the World.
Visit their website here
. Pages on this wiki featuring their music include They Do
, Wholesome Crossdresser
, Song Fic
, and Manic Pixie Dream Girl
In 2011 China Forbes announced that she was taking a sabbatical from Pink Martini because she needed surgery on her vocal cords. The band will continue with guest vocalists during Forbes' temporary absence. The first of these, 1969
, is a collaboration with Japanese vocalist Saori Yuki.
Examples of Tropes Seen In Pink Martini's Work
- An Aesop - In "Bitty Boppy Betty," a moral is lightly dropped at the end about celebrating variety and tolerating other people, making it something of a Gay Aesop. As well, "Cante E Dance" has a message about accepting the unpredictability of life and enjoying it while it lasts.
- Arcadia - an ideal retreat from the world is described in "Tea for Two" and "Splendor in the Grass" — somewhere with little traffic, plenty of greenery, peace, and quiet.
- Attractive Bent Gender - "Bitty Boppy Betty"
- Bilingual Bonus - This is a very multilingual band. They've sung in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Croatian, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish... and with their holiday album alone they add Hebrew, Ukrainian, German, Ladino, and Chinese to the list.
- But Liquor Is Quicker - Part of the story behind "Hey, Eugene!" The other part is Willing Suspension of Disbelief that anyone would get China Forbes'◊ phone number and never call back.
- Christmas Songs - on their album "Joy To the World," including the original Ukranian "Carol of the Bells," and "Silent Night" and "Auld Lang Syne" in three different languages apiece.
- City of Adventure - "City of Night" — in its romantic, nightlife aspect.
- Cover Changes The Meaning - "Que Sera, Sera" became chilling alluva sudden...
- Gay Aesop: "Bitty Boppy Betty" politely asks you not to judge the eponymous Betty, who's a crossdressing DA.
- Genre Throwback: Their jazz, lounge, and old-fashioned pop style.
- Hilarity Ensues - at their concerts. Stilt-walkers, puppeteers, and an entire high school marching band have all made appearances.
- Ironic Nursery Tune - Their cover of "Que Sera, Sera" - fitting, as the film it's from wasn't light at all.
- Love at First Sight - "Sunday Table." Hard to say, but it might be a Subverted Trope, as the last two words of the song imply that the woman simply turns around, keeps walking, and the two of them go on with their day.
- Japanese Language - Most of "1969", some of whose songs are translations of English Language standards (e.g. "Puff the Magic Dragon"). Before it was released, there was Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl - "Lilly," even though the song's actually about a dog.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - a Jamaican-style "Little Drummer Boy"?
- Rashomon-Style - "And Then You're Gone" / "But Now I'm Back."
- It's also possible that "Una Notte a Napoli" and "La Soledad" form the woman's and man's points-of-view in a similar way; the intro to "Una Notte a Napoli" is really the melody line from "La Soledad."
- Rock Me, Amadeus! - And swing me Schubert.
- Russian Guy Suffers Most - in "Dosvedanya, Mio Bombino" the half-Russian, half-Italian boyfriend of the singer is constantly torn between his two natures and homelands, never ending up satisfied.
- Smoking Is Glamorous - The woman in "Sympathetique" pulls it off nicely. Fitting, as the song is about a depressed, recently broken-up woman despondently sitting in her room and smoking all day.
- The One That Got Away - A few songs, such as the melancholy "Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu" and "Veronique," the upbeat "The Gardens of Sampson & Beasley" and possibly the tragic "Piensa en Mi."
- Wholesome Crossdresser - "Bitty Boppy Betty," about a charismatic district attorney who dresses as a woman on the weekends, and who is the toast of her local nightclub:
"You really can't ignore her,
And if you don't adore her,
There might be something wrong with you!"
- You Are Not Alone: Hang On, Little Tomato is a gentle imploration to keep sticking to your guns.