Album: 17 Hippies - Heimlich (Hipster)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Neither strictly hippies nor 17 in number, Berlin's 17 Hippies have for 12 years been a mainstay of Germany's world-music scene, wowing audiences across Europe, and as far afield as Russia and Japan, with their energetic pan-ethnic performances. Currently numbering around a dozen players, their diverse backgrounds afford a truly international blend of influences, with lyrics delivered in German, French or English, and all manner of cultural hybrids occurring in the music.

The opening "Shadowman", for instance, sounds like a high-speed collision between Celtic and Balkan modes, a frantic Gogol Bordello-like flurry of fiddle, accordion, brass and woodwind capped with an especially hot clarinet solo; while "When Was That?" uses similar instrumentation to produce a rumba-style cajun groove as backdrop to a recollection of love at first sight. Clarinet adopts the haunting Arabic timbre of duduk on "Teschko", jew's harp is prominent in the Eastern-flavoured "Moving Song", ukulele drives the time piece "Tick Tock", and rhapsodic oboe helps transform The Shadows' "Apache" into a polka. Often weird, and mostly wonderful.

Download this: 'Shadowman', 'Apache', 'His Mystery', 'Moving Song'