Penguin Cafe Orchestra biography
After Simon Jeffes' death, members of the orchestra continued to meet up occasionally to play together, but there were no new recordings or public appearances for over ten years. In 2007 the band briefly re-formed, with the line up as featured on 'Concert Program' (minus Julio Segovia), with Jennifer Maidman now handling Simon's guitar parts. The original members were joined on stage by Simon Jeffes' son Arthur on percussion and additional keyboards, and played three sold-out shows at the Union Chapel in London. After those concerts Arthur Jeffes wanted to form a new group without any of the original PCO members. This he initially called "Music from the Penguin Cafe", later this was shortened to simply "Penguin Cafe". This all-new ensemble, sometimes inaccurately billed as 'The Penguin Cafe Orchestra' in the press, played at a number of festivals in 2009, combining Penguin Cafe numbers with new pieces and in 2010 appeared at the BBC Proms (with Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell).
With the 'Penguin Cafe' name now being used by Arthur, the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra members who wanted to continue playing their music needed an alternative title. Four of them, the multi-instrumentalists Geoffrey Richardson and Jennifer Maidman, trombonist Annie Whitehead and pianist Steve Fletcher have since played some festivals under the name 'The Anteaters'. They have been joined by percussionist Liam Genockey. Well known as a member of Steeleye Span, Liam had also played live with the Penguins in Italy in the 1980s. The name 'Anteaters' came from an incident on the 1983 PCO tour of Japan when Simon Jeffes discovered there was a craze for penguins in the country. Simon joked that, if the fashion changed, the orchestra would have to change its name to "The Anteater Cafe Orchestra". In October 2011 the same line-up also appeared at the Canterbury Festival in Kent, UK, performing two hours of original PCO music under another name "The Orchestra That Fell To Earth" and they have subsequently performed under that name.
Famous piecesThe Penguin Cafe Orchestra's most famous piece may be "Telephone and Rubber Band", which is based around a tape loop of a UK telephone ringing tone intersected with an engaged (busy) tone, accompanied by the twanging of a rubber band. The piece is featured on the soundtracks of Nadia Tass's film comedy Malcolm (1986) and Oliver Stone's film Talk Radio (1988), and in a long-running advertising campaign for the telecoms company One2One (now T-Mobile). The 1996 single "In The Meantime" by English rockers residing in New York City, Spacehog, featured a tweaked and fine-tuned sample of "Telephone and Rubber Band". It was also the trademark song of the Argentinean show dedicated to artistic animation "Caloi en su tinta". The tape loop was recorded when Jeffes was making a phone call, and discovered that he was hearing a combination of a ring tone and an engaged signal at the same time, due to a fault in the system. He recorded it on an answering machine.
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