Pink Martini, "Bach in Havana" spice OBF lineup

  • Dec 8, 2009
[caption id="attachment_2771" align="alignright" width="200" caption="China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini"][/caption]Pink Martini, the Portland party band beloved around the world, adds its cosmopolitan flair to the Oregon Bach Festival’s 40th anniversary lineup, performing Saturday June 26 at the Hult Center, its first concert appearance in Eugene since 2006. "Hey Eugene," said John Evans, OBF executive director, echoing the title of the band’s 2007 CD to an audience at the Friends of the Festival annual meeting. “We’re delighted to bring Pink Martini back to town. They typically are on the road in summer, but they were eager to participate in an anniversary of such significance to arts in the state." With distinctive vocals by China Forbes and arrangements by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini has earned a devoted following for its flavorful blend of classical, jazz, Latin, and pop styles spiked with quirky original lyrics. Born to fill a void for a decent band to entertain at political fundraisers, the group has garnered worldwide acclaim through sold-out concerts with major symphony orchestras, international tours, New Year’s Eve broadcasts on National Public Radio and PBS, featured songs on movie soundtracks, and top selling recordings. Expect to hear music from Pink Martini’s fourth CD, “Splendor in the Grass," released last October. Tiempo Libre, bolstering their bio in the last year with gigs on TV’s Dancing with the Stars and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, adds fireworks to the Festival’s final weekend with a dance-concert Saturday, July 10 at the Eugene Hilton. Tiempo Libre’s members were all classically trained at La ENA, Cuba’s leading conservatory. Now, the group is a Grammy nominated hit in the U.S. and abroad, celebrated for its joyful performances of timba, an irresistible, dance-inducing mix of high voltage Latin jazz and the seductive rhythms of son. The group’s latest CD, “Bach in Havana,” honors the baroque master's influence on their conservatory days, fusing Bach melodies with Afro Cuban rhythms. "For audiences, Tiempo Libre is the next step in our history of Latin American connections,” said Evans. He cited crowd-pleasing premieres by Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov in 1996 and 2005, the residency of the Cuban choir Entrevoces in 2000, a tango weekend featuring Piazzolla protege Pablo Ziegler in 2008, and this year’s Bernstein Beat, family programs that explore the Latin influences in Leonard Bernstein’s Broadway hits, narrated by his daughter Jamie. Tickets for both Pink Martini and Tiempo Libre are now on sale online.