Essential Listening: The Penguin Café Orchestra 4CD bundle

(4CD Bundle)

  1. Broadcasting From Home
  2. Penguin Café Orchestra
  3. Signs Of Life
  4. When In Rome …

Artist Biography by William Ruhlmann: The Penguin Cafe Orchestra (PCO) was founded by British composer Simon Jeffes (born February 19, 1949; died December 10, 1997). Born in Sussex, England, and raised in Canada and around Europe, Jeffes began playing the guitar at the age of 13 while attending boarding school in England and then studied classical guitar, piano, and music theory at Chiswick Polytechnic, but dropped out before graduating. He worked with Gilbert Biberian's Omega Players for a time and accompanied producer Rupert Hine on Hine's solo albums Pick Up a Bone (1970) and Unfinished Picture (1971). While living in Japan in 1972, he developed an interest in ethnic music, particularly African styles, and decided to try to merge those styles with more traditional Western sounds. He launched the PCO as an outlet for his compositions with this eclectic hybrid approach. He always said that the "Penguin Cafe" concept was one that came to him in a dream while he was suffering from food poisoning in the south of France in the summer of 1972, after which he wrote a poem that began, "I am the proprietor of the Penguin Cafe, I will tell you things at random." He described the music of the group as "modern semi-acoustic chamber music."

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