Friday, 22 May 2009

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Penguin Cafe Orchestra were formed by Simon Jeffes in the early in 1973. Jeffes was classically-trained guitarist, composer and arranger who became disillusioned with classical and rock music and decided to inject influences of the freedom in ethnic music. The result was a disctintive minimal yet exuberant sound.

The core members of Penguin Cafe Orchestra were Jeffes and cellist Helen Liebmann, with other musicians brought in to meet the needs of particular compositions.

The band's first album Music From The Penguin Cafe was released in 1976, followed by a second in Penguin Cafe Orchestra in 1981. They went on to release another 4 albums between 1984 and 1993 continuing to record and perform until 1997 when Jeffes died of a brain tumour.

The relaxed sound of the band was picked up on the Balearic scene with Music for a Found Harmonium being a Cafe Del Mar classic and featuring on Jose Padilla's first Cafe Del Mar compilation album. Tracks such as Dirt, Art A Danser and Paul's Dance are also well worth checking out. The band's music probably came to most public attention through the use of their track Telephone on a 90s TV advert for the mobile phone network One 2 One.

Members of the band reformed for 3 special concerts to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jeffe's death in 2007, and now in 2009 Jeffe's son has resurrected the concept and is touring the band including a concert at the Royal Northern College of Music on June 5th.


If you do attend make sure to make it back to Eighty Six at Jam Street later on!

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