Pink Martini perform March 8 at the Paramount Theatre


Photo credit Autumn de Wilde

Pink Martini press photo

Celeste Welshhons

Pink Martini will play at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 8 accompanied by The Von Trapps. The band will play a second show in Iowa the following day at the Adler Theatre in Davenport.

Pink Martini does not have one overall genre that they fit under. They combine jazz, Latin, classical and multiple other musical styles in order to get a unique, multicultural sound.

Thomas Lauderdale founded Pink Martini. He started playing piano at a young age and only quit studying the instrument while he attended Harvard University.

“I started piano lessons when I was 6-years-old. I’ve been studying for 37 years,” Lauderdale said. “I went to Harvard and I didn’t really study piano at all during that period of time; I studied history and literature. At the time I really wanted to become mayor of Portland, Ore.”

Lauderdale first met Pink Martini’s current lead singer, China Forbes, while attending Harvard.

“We were in the same college dormitory,” Lauderdale said. “When the band first started, she lived in New York, I lived in Portland. I found her and tricked her into coming to Oregon.”

The group accompanying Pink Martini, The Von Trapps, collaborated on the band’s latest release, “Dream a Little Dream.”

“We have everything from original compositions by August von Trapp to an incredible version of “The Lonely Goatherd” with a guest appearance by Wayne Newton, the king of Las Vegas, to a samba version of the opera song ‘Fernanda,’” Lauderdale said.

The von Trapps have a long lineage of musical talent in their family. The four siblings are the great-grandchildren of Werner von Trapp. The movie and musical, “The Sound of Music” was based on the life of Werner von Trapp and the rest of his family.

For their first show in Iowa at the Paramount Theatre, Pink Martini will play some of their biggest hits from multiple albums.

“It will be everything from ‘Amado Mio’ to ‘Fernando’ in Swedish. It will be greatest hits, but it will have pieces from every album, even the holiday album. We might do the Chinese New Year song,” Lauderdale said.

Pink Martini has played numerous shows in other countries and had great success. Lauderdale believes this could be because of the different languages used by vocalist China Forbes.

“We’re maybe one of the few American bands that performs songs regularly in different languages,” Lauderdale said.

Pink Martini has had songs featured in numerous movies such as ‘Josie and the Pussycats,’ ‘Shanghai Kiss,’ and ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ to name a few.

“The good thing about Pink Martini’s music is that you can turn it up or down and it can accompany almost any type of scenario. It’s cinematic,” Lauderdale said.

Pink Martini is also known for their involvement in political activism. Thomas Lauderdale has been involved with politics since high school. Pink Martini even organized and performed at a rally for the Occupy movement.

“It’s important more to me than anyone else in the band. I think everybody in the band is pretty onboard with it. We’re all involved in different causes,” Lauderdale said.

The band just released their second album in six months, but touring is not the only thing we can expect from Pink Martini.

“We’re looking at doing different collaborations with ballet companies and staying involved in political things in the city, and our state, and the world,” Lauderdale said.