Tag Archives: Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Things for which I am grateful #37/365


The Penguin Café Orchestra.

I first heard about PCO in the late 80s and was immediately captivated by their uniquely eclectic sound. I hadn’t heard anything quite like them before. (Or since.)

The ‘orchestra’, (which is more of an ensemble), was set up by classical musician and composer, Simon Jeffes in 1972, prompted by an hallucination he’d had in the South of France after eating some bad fish!

Sadly, Jeffes died prematurely of a brain tumor in 1997.

Although, the baton was picked up again by his son, Arthur in 2010 under the name – Penguin Café.

Credit must also go to co-founder, and cellist, Helen Liebman who was the only member of the orchestra to be in it from its inception to Jeffes’ death.

Once you hear them, you will probably recognise a few of their compositions from ads and movie sound tracks.

Have a listen, I doubt that you will be disappointed. This is music that speaks to the soul. They have brought me many happy hours of hypnotic tranquility. For that, I am very grateful.

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Albors Askari


Albors Askari

Albors Pascal Askari has composed a piece of music to accompany the poem I wrote for the victims of the Japan Tsunami.

Personally, I think it is stunning. To me, it is reminiscent of Michael Nyman with a bit of Erik Satie thrown in for good measure. You might even say there’s a teeny bit of Penguin Cafe Orchestra in there too.

It’s very evocative and melancholy.

The piece is called Onagawa, (after the nuclear power plant), and you can listen to it here on Soundcloud.

If it tickles your fancy you might want to listen to the rest of his ‘work-in-progress’ album here.

Albors hails from Vienna, Austria and comes across as a very humble man so it would be good if you could ‘Share’ his work, or ‘like’ it if you have the time. And maybe, when the album is released, (he mentioned October time), you might even buy a copy. I know I will.

As some of you may recall, the poem was the catalyst for the Japan Art Auction which went on to raise just over £5k for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Here is the poem in a couple of guises. (Just click on them if you want to enlarge them or scroll down to read it on the post.)

Tsunami - A poem for Japan, by David Milligan-Croft

Tsunami - A poem for Japan, by David Milligan-Croft

Tsunami –
A poem for Japan
by David Milligan-Croft

The world cracked
And up you rose
From the Ring of Fire
On a day when the gods were too busy.

You rode ashore,
Like 40,000 apocalyptic horsemen,
Not pausing for houses, for cars,
For people, for breath.

Dragging their kicks and screams
Through concrete and timber and twisted steel,
Splintering bones
Like cherry blossom twigs.

Until they were silent.
And the world was silent.

Then you slithered away
On the belly of the night,
Lapping the shore whilst
Licking your greedy fingers.

And after you are satiated,
And we have un-buried our dead,
We will climb up out of the mud,
And the sun will rise again.

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