May 3, 2012

Dirty and Pink

GABROEN returned to great music city Chicago. This time to the Symphony Center, the home of the world renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It's another beautiful theater in downtown, only two blocks from the Chicago Theater. You should not be afraid of heights, and be ready to lend a helping hand - or supporting arm - to older ladies, who are helpless when trying to descend the extremely steep and large steps on the upper balcony.

We earlier saw the Wiener Sangerknaben and the Soweto Gospel Choir here, but now it was time for something completely different: the little orchestra Pink Martini, that draws its inspiration from music from all over the world and fuses classical genres with jazz and old-fashioned pop. This global fusion creates a pretty weird and interesting collection of songs, but luckily the band leader, composer and pianist Thomas Lauderdale provided some context and funny anecdotes to explain the weirdness. So tonight's line up ranged from the soundtrack of the Japanese 1968 cult movie "Black Lizard" about a Tokyo crime queen who turns femme fatale and keeps a collection of her enabled former lovers/victims, to the classical protest song for French strikers "Je ne veux pas travailler". At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like a musical travel diary, it's utterly strange but beautiful. The 15-man strong band provide a natural background to the center stage diva and singer China Forbes. Though fluent only in English, Forbes actually sings in 15 different languages! 

Pink Martini
The biggest fun of the evening comes when they invited someone in the audience to help Thomas Lauderdale out with playing the Schubert piano piece for four hands, followed by all five Turks for a Turkish sing-along and all four Greeks for a classical Greek anthem. The party was at its top when the front row was asked to form a conga line on and off stage. 

I have no idea why this little happy orchestra called themselves Pink Martini, but it sounds like the happy version of Gabri's favorite drink. Jean Power introduced her to the great website Durty Gurl Cocktail Condiments for olive juice - adding vermouth and New Amsterdam gin surely makes a nice dirty martini.

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