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Pink Martini: Joyous Music In Trying Times

Mixing eras, cultures and attitudes with trademark panache

Pink Martini

Red carpet, marble floors, filigree and fresco: When it comes to setting the tone, Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre fits Pink Martini like a satin glove. Last September, performing material from their new record, Get Happy (Heinz), the self-styled “little orchestra” pulled in some 2,000 adoring fans for a two-set tour de force of the past, present and future of lounge music.

Onstage, Pink Martini’s aesthetic is often camp-lush arrangements err on the side of over-the-top; many call for sing-alongs or conga lines-but the effect is not for lack of seriousness. These musicians are, in their way, seriously anti-serious. “When I was originally thinking about Get Happy,” says pianist and bandleader Thomas Lauderdale, 43, “I was thinking there’s this sense of ‘How on Earth are we going to get through this period?’ Hardcore capitalism, crazy healthcare problems, extreme differences in distribution of wealth. … I thought what we needed was a giddy, fantastic group of songs that run totally counter to everything going on in the culture.”

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