On Saturday Thom and I had dinner at Trader Vic’s (the downtown San Francisco location), which was fun. We both love tiki, as you know. I think we had expected the Trader Vic’s experience to rely almost solely on the kitschy atmosphere, but we were a little surprised but of course pleased to find that the food and service were really good as well.
The main event of the evening was Pink Martini with the San Francisco Symphony! Pink Martini has been around for a while, of course, but I can’t believe I’m only just now getting into their music. I love them. It’s hard to describe their music, so I’ll leave it to what bandleader Thomas Lauderdale has said: “Pink Martini is like a romantic Hollywood musical of the 1940s or 50s — but with a global perspective which is modern. We bring melodies and rhythms from different parts of the world together to create something which is new and beautiful.” That they do. And China Forbes, their vocalist, has a sultry voice to die for. I totally need to get their CDs. They have three out so far, and their latest one (Hey Eugene!) was released in May.
By the way, one of their encore pieces was an instrumental (violin and piano) arrangement of an old Filipino song, “Bayan Ko” (“My country”). I vaguely remember the melody; my grandparents and parents sometimes sang it at parties with their townmates, where they’d sing old Tagalog songs around the piano. I always thought it was a bit corny, but I finally looked up the history and lyrics. Apparently it was written in the 1920s as a protest song during the American occupation of the Philippines, and has been a sort of anthem in every struggle since. I’ve been browsing for clips on the web just now, and not to sound like an old manong, but it makes me all misty-eyed to hear it again. Heh.
Pink Martini performs songs in several languages; I think they should take on some Tagalog! It would sound great.
» See also NPR’s recent two-part interview on Morning Edition.