Our world grows smaller and smaller: 17 Hippies may be based in Berlin, but the band’s repertoire wanders from the Balkans to a Parisian cafe, not forgetting a quick sortie into the American borderlands. So much travelling could easily result in a collection of tourist kitsch, but their postmodern ramblings, with horns and strings mixed with unpretentious, multilingual vocals, are conducted in just the right inquisitive spirit. One minute revving up like a supercharged gypsy band, the next delivering a pastoral treatment of the old pop hit Apache, the German musicians (there are actually 13 of them) come across as a more genial version of that restless French collective Lo’Jo.
The press says: “ Musically, there´s everything in it which they could possibly get their hands on. They whirl you through Romanian Sirba, clarinets race through Klezmer melodies, a Cajun song is performed in a very strange local German dialect."
“The 17 Hippies are ridiculously underrated.
They should be in the front rank of European world music artists …”
02. Frau Von Ungefahr
03. Bourree Dite D'aurore Sand
04. Mad Bad Cat
06. Gator's Grin
07. Saragina Rumba
08. Saint Behind The Glass
10. Dansons La Valse
11. Jovano Jovanke
12. Hotel Cazane
13. Sirba All The Way
14. Der Zug Um 7.40 Uhr
15. Was Bleibt
17. Chassidic Song
20. Valser Nel Bosco
Antje Henkel – clarinet, saxophon
Carsten Wegener – double-bass, saw, vocals
Christopher Blenkinsop – ukulele, irish bouzouki, vocals
Daniel Friedrichs – violins
Dirk Trageser – guitar, vocals
Elmar Gutmann - trumpet
Henry Notroff – clarinets
Kerstin Kaernbach – violins
Kiki Sauer – accordion, harmonium, flute, vocals
Kruisko – accordion
Lüül - banjo, guitar
Rike Lau – cello, vocals
Uwe Langer – trombone, trumpet, euphonium
Paul Pena played blues with the greats T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, and Bonnie Raitt. In 1995, the blind bluesman became the first American ever to compete in an unusual contest of multi-harmonic "throatsinging" native to The Autonomous Republic of Tuva.
The Autonomous Republic of Tuva, wedged between Siberia and Mongolia, for centuries has been isolated from the rest of the world by jagged mountains and Soviet restrictions. Only recently have the Tuvan art form of throatsinging become known to outsiders.
Pena discovered Tuvan throatsinging on a shortwave program of Radio Moscow. For the next nine years he worked to produce similar overtones with his own voice and to incorporate throatsinging into his blues music.
Unexpectedly in 1993, Pena discovered that Tuvan throatsingers were on their first concert tour of the U.S. After their performance, the deep-voiced bluesman broke into his own self-taught style of throatsinging and serenaded the musicians with Tuvan traditional songs! The throatsingers were amazed by Pena's mastery of the Tuvan art form and likened his rich voice to the sounds of tremors in the earth. They insisted that "Chershemjer" (Earthquake) travel to Tuva for the next tri-ennial throatsinging contest which would be held in 1995.
Eleven years after he first heard throat singing, Paul Pena entered the National Theatre of Tuva to make history. The blind bluseman's performance was so well received, he became the 1995 throatsinging champion in the style of kargyraa. He also captured the "audience favorite" award for the week-long competition. The Tuvan people had never seen or heard anyone like him.
"More than just a record, this is also the story of the journey of Paul Pena, a fine blind American bluesman who learned Tuvan throat singing well enough to win a contest in Tuva. His solo tracks, especially his take on Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues," are the real blues deal, but this record truly takes off when Pena and Ondar duet. The blues and the eerie, often-guttural sounds of throat singing make a natural match, one that simply bewitches with the clear overtones and melodies, while the guitar and Tuvan banjo offer simple, but very plaintive, accompaniment. About the only misstep is the inclusion of the Cape Verdean "Tras d'Orizao," which sticks out like a sore thumb from everything else. Get that out of your system, and the rest is pure magic."
01 - What You Talkin About
02 - Alash Hem (The Alash River)
03 - Gonna Move
04 - Kaldak Hamar (The Other Side of the Mountain)
05 - Tras D'Orizao (Beyond the Horizon)
06 - Ondarnyng Ayany (Ondar's Medley)
07 - Kargyraa Moan
08 - Eshten Charlyyry Berge (It's Hard to Lose a Friend)
09 - Kongurey (Where Has My Country Gone)
10 - Durgen Chugaa (Fast Talk)
11 - Sunezin Yry (Soul's Song)
12 - Center of Asia
13 - You Gotta Move
14 - Tuva Farewell
15 - Genghis Blues Soundbites
16 - Kaldak Hamar (Live)
17 - Eki A'ttar (Good Horses) (Live)