The Penguin Cafe Orchestra toured the world in the 1980s and 1990s as an insider tip for music cognoscenti. A changing cast of musicians around British guitarist Simon Jeffes played “imaginary folk music” inspired by multiple sources including minimal music, South American dance music and classical chamber music. The Penguin Café Orchestra was an intercultural meeting point, with musicians each contributing from their own musical background and experience. The ensuing music was uninhibited and inspired, enjoyable in an intelligent way and full of verve.
Simon Jeffes once said in an interview that he tended to compose more for musicians than for instruments. Recordings of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra bear witness to this, with the band members coming across as personalities who put their own stamp on the band’s sound and co-shaped its evolution over the years. This approach is highly topical – an invitation for us to explore their music a quarter of a century on and, by reinventing it, to make it our own. News from the Penguin Cafe!
Photo: © Rolf Bismarck