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.