Music for a Found Harmonium 1of 5 Songs with Meaning 12

Day 1 ‘Music for a Found Harmonium’ Penguin Café Orchestra – Broadcasting from Home

This is a round robin where people choose 5 meaningful songs posted 1 a day.

It goes like this….

Sue Vincent: music-that-means-something-day-1-leonard-cohen


Sally Cronin: music-that-means-something-challenge-day-1-younger-than-springtime-south-pacific/

who nominated me…  No link necessary. You’re reading it.

Who says a song has to have words to move you?

Penguin Café Orchestra was founded by classically trained multi-instrumentalist Simon Jeffes. He wanted to produce an avant-garde melange of world rhythms combined with the discipline of classical chamber music (Oscar Tango) and experimental forms such as:

The tape recorded sounds of Musique Concrete (Telephone and Rubber Band)

Erik Satie’s repetitive furniture music (Numbers 1-4)

The abstract soundscapes of Karl Stockhausen (Wildlife)


The minimalism of John Cage, (Cage Dead) whose influence can be heard in the pulsing bass drone of many tracks. A technique successfully used by another of his students John Cale in his work with the early Velvet Underground.

Later Simon Jeffes decided he did not want to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’ and drew on classical forms (Rosasolis), folk (Giles Farnaby’s Dream), bluegrass (Swing the Cat; Beanfields), and out and out rock-n roll (Walk Don’t Run by The Ventures)

His wife Emily Young did the album covers.

Penguin Café music was used for TV adverts such as British Rail (Beanfields) and Olympic ice-skaters Torvill and Dean danced to it (Oscar Tango). The Royal Ballet used his music for Still Life at the Penguin Café.

The Zebra costume in the dance to White Mischief is amazing

I was lucky enough to see the Penguin Cafe perform before Simon Jeffes’ untimely death from a brain tumour aged 48. They opened with Music for a Found Harmonium, which needless to say was not played on harmonium.

The swelling wheezy drone of an old pedal harmonium was emulated by Annie Whitehead on a trombone with its slide right down to the floor. Moment by moment the swell grew, stretching on and on, seemingly endless. I could not believe a single breath could go on so long. I found myself not breathing. Afterwards the friend sitting next to me said they felt the hair on my arm stand on end.

Brief History of the Penguin Café Orchestra contains many of their signature tracks

 If you like the album please buy the music

Today I nominate the incredible Sheyhanne Moore


12 thoughts on “Music for a Found Harmonium 1of 5 Songs with Meaning

  1. Reply Shehanne Moore Apr 12,2017 10:56 pm

    OOH Paul, I have probably got a mixed bunch xxxx

  2. Reply dgkaye Apr 12,2017 9:52 pm

    Wow, this was so interesting Paul. The zebra costume and music video was spectacular. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily 12th April 2017 – Paul Andruss, Anne R. Allen, David Prosser and Carol Taylor | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Reply Shehanne Moore Apr 12,2017 3:18 pm

    Paul, what a great choice. I never knew they were behind some of these things. What I am loving about seeing the posts in this challenge is the diversity and thank you THANK YOU for the nomination xxxxxxx I happily accept

  5. Reply Sally Cronin Apr 12,2017 8:42 am

    What a wonderful response Paul and White Mischief is hypnotic and you are right that Zebra costume is absolutely stunning.. The first piece made me smile it was so quirky.. Great choice and thank you so much for accepting the nomination our day would have been less bright without it. Sal

  6. Reply Robbie Cheadle Apr 12,2017 5:49 am

    Great post, Paul. Super to read your thoughts on music. I personally love broadway.

Leave a Reply




%d bloggers like this: