Beloved Oregon-based “little orchestra” Pink Martini will release the 20th Anniversary Edition of their acclaimed debut album, Sympathique, on June 29 via Heinz Records. Fans can pre-order the reissue, which is newly re-mastered and features updated packaging, here: http://bit.ly/20thPMs
In conjunction with the announcement, the band’s exquisite arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s popular orchestral work, “Bolero,” which was originally a cornerstone of Sympathique and remains one of Pink Martini’s favorites in concert, debuts online today —listen on Soundcoud or Spotify. The song was removed from the album after only a small initial pressing, due to publishing complications. Now, timed perfectly for the occasion of the album’s 20th anniversary, “Bolero” has entered the public domain and the album can finally be heard as the band originally intended, with “Bolero” restored to its proper place in the album sequence—making the 20th Anniversary Edition the definitive version of this seminal classic.
In 1997, three years after Thomas M. Lauderdale founded Pink Martini, mostly to play at fundraisers for progressive causes, he still hadn’t found the right lead singer for his band. His mind kept going back to his Harvard classmate, China Forbes, who was pursuing a singing career in New York. He pitched Forbes to come to Portland to do an “artist-in-residence” for a full month, and in a little carriage house just outside of the city they wrote “Sympathique,” which eventually became the title track for the band’s popular first album.
Of the anniversary edition, lead singer Forbes says, “It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since we released our first album, Sympathique, and I am so excited that it has been restored to its original version with Ravel’s Bolero! We have all grown and changed and learned so much being a part of this band, and I don’t think any of us thought it would last this long. There have been marriages and divorces, deaths and births, ups and downs, fights and resolutions, love and camaraderie. It’s life, and Pink Martini has been a constant, a source of joy and comfort for so many people, which is a wonderful feeling that keeps us going!”
At the band’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon, the chorus of the song “Sympathique” is emblazoned in block gold letters above the entryway. Based on lyrics found in a song by the French composer Francois Poulenc, written by the French poet Apollinaire, “Sympathique” became a hit in France, where the line “Je ne veux pas travailler” (“I don’t want to work”) was taken up as a mantra by French workers campaigning for a 35-hour workweek. The song was nominated for “Song of the Year” and the band nominated “Best New Artist” in France’s Victoires de la Musique (the French Grammys), and the album soon went Platinum in France and Gold in many other countries, including Canada, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey. It has sold over 1 million copies worldwide, a remarkable accomplishment for a band selling its own record on its own independent record label (Heinz Records).
1. Amado Mio
2. No Hay Problema
3. Sympathique (Je ne veux pas travailler)
4. Que Sera Sera
5. La Soledad
6. Donde Estas, Yolanda?
8. Song of the Black Lizard
10. Children of Piraeus