Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

With Halloween barely done and Thanksgiving yet to come, Pink Martini
founder Thomas Lauderdale thinks it’s way too early to be talking about
Christmas and the holidays. Especially as the retro-swing band just
returned from playing “summer” shows in Australia and New Zealand.

too early, it really is. Holiday stuff shouldn’t be started before
November 23,” Lauderdale declares, speaking from his home in Portland,
Ore. However, with Pink Martini’s first holiday album, “Joy to the
World,” released Nov. 16 via Starbucks in conjunction with the band’s
label, Heinz Records, talk up the H-word, he must.

“I vowed
never to do one. It always made me a little queasy. But the last couple
of years, the music industry has totally changed, so when Starbucks
called up and suggested doing a holiday album it seemed crazy not to say
yes,” the Harvard graduate tells Metro. “It actually turned out to be
very fun — but had Starbucks not called, there wouldn’t be a Pink
Martini holiday album.”

Formed in 1994 in Portland, Lauderdale
says his band is greatly inspired by Pee Wee Herman’s Christmas Special.
That and a need to support his political canvassing back then. “I
didn’t like the music that was being played at functions, so I threw on a
cocktail dress and that’s how the band started.”

Holidays for all

Don’t be deceived by the
traditional track listing on “Joy to the World” — this ain’t your
grandma’s holiday album. There’s a Ukrainian song, “Carol of the Bells”;
a Hebrew prayer, “Elohai N’tzor”; a modern-day Christian ska song,
“Jesus is a Friend of Mine”; an Afro-pop “We Three Kings”; “Silent
Night” in German, but with a verse in Arabic and English; Irving
Berlin’s “White Christmas” in both English and Japanese; and “Auld Lang
Syne” done up as a samba.