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Penguin Cafe - 15th May 2019

Penguin Cafe - 15th May 2019

Review: Pete Drummond Hay

Penguin Cafe gave a taste of something completely different at the Inchyra Arts Club. Veering from New Age ambient sound to a sort of modern Chamber Music, the seven musicians took the sizeable crowd on a wonderfully
thoughtful journey – to their obvious delight.

Arthur Jeffes formed Penguin Cafe to keep his Father’s legacy, The Penguin
Cafe Orchestra, alive and they began with one of those original Simon Jeffes
compositions ‘Perpetuum Mobile’, a restless continuum based on a slightly
complicated piano rhythm and some delightful instrumentation. They switched
between the new and the old seamlessly. Recently, a tie-up with Greenpeace,
resulted in a series of pieces written about and describing the characters of 
the indigenous penguin population of Antartica, of which ‘Emperor ‘ was a stand
out, with its haunting theme and magisterial presence.

Penguin Cafe’s music does not sit comfortably in a single style or genre and in
‘Pythagoras On The Line’, an engaged tone and chopsticks are used to give a
fascinating swirling, geometric effect which is very definitely in New Age
territory. The musicians are splendidly in tune with each other and the
combination of Viola, Violins, Cello, Bass, Piano and Percussion give a fabulous
and energetically full sound. The music is very strong rhythmically, exemplified
by ‘Rescue’, described as music with a happy ending. It is also hypnotic and strangely familiar with its motif based repetition. Piano is the rhythmic base of
the music, which is unusual in itself and then the influences pour in on top.
Modern Baroque Classical music and Eastern European crowd in until the final
encore of the Celtic based’ Music for a found Harmonium’ from the original
Orchestra’s repertoire sent the crowd home into the warm spring evening
humming these fabulous tunes. Great music and great weather combining in a
memorable night.