Penguin Cafe: The Next Generation

Back in March, I wrote a bit about one of my favourite musical ensembles – the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

At the time, I mentioned or at least hinted that the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra folded after the death of their founder, Simon Jeffes, in 1997 and that many of the members have recently been performing together under the name of Anteater, while Simon’s son, Arthur Jeffes, has assembled another group of musicians (none of them original PCO members) performing very similar music under the name of Penguin Cafe.

As far as I know, Anteater (or rather “The Anteaters”) have only played live gigs so far and have not produced any commercially available recordings; they have subsequently renamed themselves as The Orchestra That Fell To Earth and continue to perform.   Apparently they continued playing together in private after Jeffes’ death and started performing publicly again in 2007.

Penguin Cafe, by contrast, released an album in 2010.  I got a copy of it yesterday and enjoyed my initial listen-through.  It is very similar in style to the original PCO repertoire but, like that band’s five or so albums, manages to stay sufficiently varied not to sound like just more of the same.  The album seems worthy to join the PCO albums on my shelf (except that I bought this one as an mp3 album rather than a CD, so it will have to be a virtual shelf) and I’m sure I’ll get much pleasure from repeated listenings.  

I’ll also be keeping an eye out to see if any more albums from either Penguin Cafe or The Orchestra That Fell To Earth come out, or if I get a chance to see either group perform live.

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