Barbican Celebrates Moondog


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September 8th 2009 will mark the tenth anniversary of the death of Moondog, the blind American musician who for years was a familiar figure on the streets of New York. Moondog was the pseudonym of Louis Hardin, born 1916. From the late 1940s until the 1970s he performed on the streets of New York. Famously, he wore a Viking costume which made him one of the most photographed and familiar urban figures of the period. During his time on the streets, his distinctive rhythmic music attracted the attention and patronage of figures as diverse as Charlie Parker, Artur Rodzinski, Leonard Bernstein and Toscanini. Remarkably, in 1957 he recorded a children's album with Julie Andrews. During his life, Moondog's music was covered by and influenced a wide range of musicians. Since his death, that has increased; his music has been sampled, cited and celebrated by generations of musicians.

On May 30th, London's Barbican will present a series of events celebrating and remembering Moondog. A concert will feature a number of guest artists who reflect the extraordinary range of the composer. Before the show, a Freestage set from composer Max de Wardener and percussionist Tom Skinner will explore the canonical music from the 1970 album Moondog 2 (Sony/Columbia).

The first half of the concert will feature the specially assembled Moondog Choir featuring the idiosyncratic vocals of Lightspeed Champion, Pictish Trail and Adem ; they will perform with London Saxophonic, joined by pianist Liam Noble and percussionist Paul Clarvis who both played with Moondog when he last performed in London at Elvis Costello's Meltdown in 1995. Domino Records stalwarts Clinic will also perform two Moondog compositions in the Hall before their own set on the post-show Clubstage. In the interval there will be a Clubstage DJ set from Caribou .

In the second half the Britten Sinfonia will perform under the baton of Andr de Ridder of the Viva Orchestra, along with Andi Toma (of Mouse On Mars), who collaborated with Moondog on the music for Elpmas (Kopf, 1991) while the composer was living in Germany. The Britten Sinfonia will perform some gems from Moondog's classic CBS repertoire as well as previously unheard works.

Alongside Clinic on the post-show Clubstage will be a DJ set from Four Tet , in which DJ Kieran Hebden mixes sounds from all kinds of genres and crosses any musical borders he can find.

In a companion event, Moondog Around Midnight takes place in the beautiful setting of the church of St Giles Cripplegate at 11.30pm on the same evening. US organist Paul Jordan, a veteran Moondog collaborator, will play a concert of the composer's organ music.

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