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Penguin Cafe return with new single ‘Re Budd’ in full costume

Bringing optimism, balafon and a ukulele to the orchestral genre.

Today’s bingo card didn’t have a luscious upbeat symphonic-infused world jazz being played by people in penguin costumes. I’m glad it exists though. Penguin Cafe has been creating difficult-to-classify music for years and announced their 5th studio album ‘Rain Before Seven’ will be released on the 7th of July. The beauty of their music is it is based often on modern jazz roots but viewed and played through the lens of a tiny orchestra. That means everything is rich and vibrant, bountiful with strings but with funky double bass and jazzy percussion. Penguin Cafe also takes on instruments from around the world too so there is a cultural influence to each release too.

‘Re Budd’ is the lead single and the track was written on the balafon. It’s a dedication in a way to composer Harold Budd as Penguin Cafe leader Arthur Jeffes heard of his passing on the day of the recording. I love its playful nature. the rhythms and sounds borrowed from around the globe have a carefree nature whilst sounding refined – like an afternoon summer stroll in Italy. Italy is also where Arthur was locked down during the pandemic and so perhaps the return to rhythmic textures and adding in the ukulele for example is a way to express a new found freedom.

Enjoy the fantastically surreal video for ‘Re Budd’ below. I have a penguin costume myself and want to join in! The single is out now. ‘Rain Before Seven’ is also available to preorder.

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