Good news for fans of the Penguin Cafe – the Arthur Jeffes-led ensemble have a new album setting foot on land in October.
For more than 35 years the Penguin Cafe name has stood for music free of constraint that looks to explore and embrace the colours of acoustic instruments around the world, enjoying the influence of classical music as it does so. The Jeffes name has been behind it from 1973, when Simon Jeffes began the group with cellist Helen Liebmann. More recently a second incarnation of the group, led by Simon’s son Arthur, was sealed by the 2017 album The Imperfect Sea.
At the core of the band’s message has been the state of the natural world, and as the press release details the new album Handfuls Of Night ‘began life after Greenpeace commissioned Jeffes to write four pieces of music corresponding to four breeds of penguins, to help raise awareness for the endangered Antarctic seas.
A fundraising evening at EartH in Hackney followed, where Penguin Cafe premiered the four songs named after their feathered counterparts to a sold out audience; the rousing contemporary folk inflected Chinstrap, the mournful and minimalistic Adelie, stoic and rhythmic The Life of an Emperor and the wistful, string-laden Gentoo Origin.
All appear on the new album, which has at its heart the soothing At The Top of the Hill, They Stood…, which you can hear below. Here the piano arpeggios are reassured by soft bass drum and woozy harmonium:
It bodes well for the long player. Handfuls of Night is out on October 4th on Erased Tapes, together with a set of UK live dates, ahead of a world tour in 2020. You can pre-order the album here