Group promotes unity through song and dance

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    By Stephanie Staples

    Cuban dance. Classical music. Brazilian street band. Parisian caf? tunes. These are just a few of the musical genres performed by the eclectic ensemble Pink Martini.

    The group, which combines sounds from all over the world, will perform at Abravanel Hall this weekend.

    The band shows inclusiveness through their musical genres as well as through members of the band, and the wide range of people they attract.

    “The night is more about being inclusive, and bringing together kids with their grandmothers,” said bandleader and pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale. “Cross-generational activities are really important.”

    Lauderdale, who started the group in 1994, is an advocate of finding unity and beauty in life.

    “The idea is to be romantic and try to find unity through song and through dancing,” he said. “It”s something that our country doesn”t do nearly enough of. I think if people danced more there would be just a general better sense of well-being and happiness.”

    The group formed after Lauderdale, who at the time was very involved in politics in Portland, Ore., realized he did not like the bands at the political rallies and decided that needed to change.

    “[We wanted to] create an atmosphere, musical wallpaper almost, which would serve as a backdrop to whatever cause we were working on,” he said.

    From these humble roots they began their eclectic group which, according to their website, has not only performed at various locations in the U.S. but has also toured Europe, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Taiwan. The group has seen huge success in France. Their album, “Sympathique” has gone double gold.

    Jeremy Bramwell, a freshman psychology major from Woodinville, Wash. heard of Pink Martini while serving an LDS mission in Paris.

    “When I was over in France I heard them for the first time, and I thought they were awesome,” Bramwell said. “I liked their unique style and the way they could twist a little classical music with a little upbeat Latin and fun music.”

    Bramwell plans on attending the performance this weekend.

    This unique style encompasses a variety of genres and styles but when asked which was his favorite, Lauderdale could not pick just one.

    “Ultimately I feel like we are sort of DJ”s collecting all the things we like in the world, rhythms, whether it”s from Cuba or Brazil, and songs in different languages,” Lauderdale said. “It”s really not about one at this point. It”s about everything. It”s about being inclusive.”

    Listeners should not be fooled by the name. Lauderdale finds the drink disgusting but thought it was a funny name that sounded festive.

    “It”s really not about the drink,” he said. “It”s really more about the atmosphere of dressing up, going out on the town and meeting strangers.”

    Student discount tickets are available for $8. Students may purchase two tickets per ID card and should arrive at Abravanel Hall at least 30 minutes before the 8 p.m. performance.

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