In 1972-73 Simon Jeffes was in the south of France. Food poisoning, a fever and a nightmare vision of a de-humanised near future led to the Penguin Café.
A different place to the harsh, loveless future of the dream Penguin Café was at the end of a dusty road where you would eventually find a ramshackle old building with noise and light pouring out into the dark. It’s a place you just fundamentally want to go into, and this is the Penguin Cafe. There are long tables and everyone sits together, and it’s very cheerfully chaotic. In the back, there is always a band playing music that you are sure you’ve heard somewhere but you have no idea where – and that is the Penguin Cafe Orchestra – they play this music.
Simon Jeffes woke and decided that he would write the music that would be played by the band from his dream. For 25 years he wrote and that is the world Penguin Café, led by Simon’s son Arthur, inhabits.
Founded in 2009 Penguin Café brought together a talented and disparate group of musicians from the likes of Suede, Gorillaz and Razorlight, initially to perform his father Simon Jeffes’ legacy of world renowned Penguin Cafe Orchestra music, ten years after his untimely death in 1997.
Arthur, a talented composer in his own right, quickly began to create new and unique genre-defying music, with the spellbinding philosophy of the Penguin Cafe always in his mind. The new work utilizes many different instruments and influences including elements of African, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Bluegrass, Classical, Avant-Garde & Minimalist music, using a variety of instruments from strings, pianos, harmoniums, slide guitars, cuatros, kalimbas, experimental sound loops, mathematical notations and more.
Penguin Cafe Website