17 Hippies
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17 Hippies


Band World Folk


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"17 Hippies: Heimlich/ The Sunday Times/ Feb.3, 2008"

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, plus two guests) come across as a more genial version of that restless French collective Lo’Jo. - Clive Davis

"17 Hippies: Heimlich/ The Guardian/ Nov.11, 2007"

They do everything so well, these 17 Hippies, writing songs with memorable melodies that they sing effortlessly in German, French or English. And yet they remain unnoticed. How could that be?
Perhaps they should have chosen a better name, one that didn't conjure the image of a guitar jam band formed by a squad of ex-Grateful Dead roadies. So let's get things straight. They don't play electric guitars and there aren't exactly 17 of them - there could be more, but usually fewer than 10 members go on tour. They're not hippies, either, although they are based in Berlin, perhaps the last European city where musicians can find apartments with rents so low, it's possible to follow your instincts and not surrender to commercial requirements.
They also sound as if they're enjoying themselves and that they don't take themselves too seriously. And that can cause problems for reviewers who prefer musicians with angst. But while there is a light, open atmosphere to their sound, most of these songs have a rueful and even melancholic tone. There's more here than first meets the ear.
Kiki Sauer sings the exquisite ballad 'Son Mystère' (His Mystery) flawlessly in French, and wrote the German words of several others sung by the group's English member, Chris Blenkinsop. 'Wann war das?' ('When was that?') and 'Tick Tack' both convey a between-the-wars nostalgia, like a band on a transatlantic liner. 'Deine Tränen' ('Your Tears') has traces of a Gypsy band from the Balkans. Each song has a slightly different combination of instruments, switching from banjo and accordion to guitar and clarinet, as influences and inspirations flash by - Cajun, Cole Porter, French chanson, and Leonard Cohen.
- Charlie Gillett

"17 Hippies: Heimlich/ The Independent/ Fr.18, 2008"

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 - Andy Gill


- 1997 | Rock’n’roll 13 (CD) Rent a Poet
- 1999 | Wer ist das? (CD) Rent a Poet
- 2002 | Sirba (CD) Buda Musique
- 2002 | Soundtrack for the film Halbe Treppe (CD) Rent a Poet
- 2003 | 17 Hippies play Sexy Ambient Hippies (CD) Rent a Poet
- 2004 | Ifni (CD) Rent a Poet
- 2005 | Live in Berlin (DVD) Rent a Poet
- 2006 | 17 Hippies Play Guitar (CD) Hipster Records
- 2006 | Live in Berlin (CD) Hipster Records
- 2007 | Heimlich (CD) Hipster Records



For the past 12 years Berlin’s very own ‘orchester spezial’, the 17 HIPPIES, have been playing their whirling, crashing, diving, bobbing and weaving mixture of music from around the world, all over Europe … and beyond. Imagine a mix of Eastern melodies, Balkan rhythms, French chanson, Anglo song writing, Cajun tunes, all perfectly blended together, creating their own unique "Berlin Style“ of ... yes ... pop music. Oh, and they sing in German, English and French.

Their energetic 17 HIPPIES music is the distillation of many genres. The musicians musical backgrounds reveal influences from rock-pop to classical and jazz, and is reflected in the instruments they play: accordion, trombone, trumpet, violin, cello, woodwinds, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, Irish bouzouki, guitar, double bass, Indian harmonium and more ...

Starting in the spring of 1995 as a trio playing mainly istrumental music, the band mutated into an ensemble -- now numbering 13 musicians -- which displays a vast range of musical creativity, ranging from their French radio hit »Marlène«, to the soundtrack for the award-winning movie HALBE TREPPE by Andreas Dresen (Silver Bear, Berlin Film Festival); from a project called SEXY AMBIENT HIPPIES involving DJs, to a project called 17 HIPPIES PLAY GUITAR featuring New York guitarist Marc Ribot. Not to forget a joint venture CD called HARDCORE TROBADORS with the notorious LES HURLEMENTS d’LÉO from Bordeaux, theatre music for Japan's famed ISSEY OGATA in Tokyo, and the DEUTSCHES THEATER back home in Berlin.

All in all, 17 HIPPIES have played more than 1.400 live concerts, all over Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Canada, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Russia and Japan.

With their new CD “HEIMLICH” (something inbetween “top secret” and “secretively”), the 17 HIPPIES are setting a twelfth year milestone. Starting off by “making music just for leisure & pleasure”, passing through the stage of “a hobby out of control” and now reaching the point of a globally-touring band with their own record label, management and publishing company, the 13 musicians from Berlin undoubtably deserve the tag “unique”.

“HEIMLICH“ is the 17 HIPPIES' most recent release. It´s their second studio production of their eight albums. Their last live CD & (DVD) was LIVE IN BERLIN, a stunning concert recording. In this new intoxicating album three quarters of the tunes are vocal – sung in German, French and English – interpreted by different members of the group.

HEIMLICH“ starts off with "Schattenmann“ (“man in the shadows”), a wild dance inspired by a Romanian melody, that develops into a rhythmical parcour-chase, with piccolo and harmonica leading the way, chased by a Las Vegas horn section. “Son Mystère” starts off as an emotional ballad, and turns into a mystic-epic wall of sound, with French lyrics accompanied by bass, santur, reed organ, accordion and clarinet. “Just Like You” blends melancholy Tex-Mex with Vaudeville strings, “Madam” combines Anglo-American songwriting with French chanson and German lyrics. And finally, in “The Moving Song”, Zydeco goes Bollywood – with a jew’s harp taking the lead.

Soul-searching stories from the heart, reaching from “being in love” to being left. From the oddities of life to the exclusions of death. The magic of the 17 HIPPIES: Their ability to celebrate a party with the melancholy depth and sadness that together creates the extraordinary ...just like that ... just like life.