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Shaken and Stirred by the Music of Pink Martini

The members of Pink Martini.
The members of Pink Martini.

Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes met as freshmen at Harvard. The next year, they selected the same campus house and often found themselves at the house piano, where Lauderdale would play and Forbes would sing late into the night as a distraction from studies.

A few years after graduation, the two re-connected in Portland, Ore., to form Pink Martini, a ten-piece globe-trotting ensemble that plays a kind of world cocktail music, often accompanying full symphony orchestras.

The group's 1997 debut CD, Sympathique, was a surprise global hit, vaulting the two college friends into a whirlwind career of almost non-stop touring.

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Lauderdale and Forbes about the new Pink Martini album, Hang on Little Tomato, and about how they create their distinctive sound.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.