17 Hippies
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17 Hippies

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | INDIE

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | INDIE
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"The 17 Hippies are ridiculously underrated. They should be in the front rank of European world music artists..." - Charlie Gillet, BBC London


“... the 17 HIPPIES are one of the most exciting
band that exist in Germany today.
And if you miss them, it's your own fault.”
- Rolling Stone Germany


“An ice breaker! Wherever they perform, in France,
Spain, Italy, Russia, or Japan. The 17 HIPPIES mesmerise the audience with their happy music.”
- TIP Berlin


Fourteen years after they began as an elaborate hobby, this Berlin troupe has matured into something special: an orchestral phantasmagoria that slides between Balkan rhythms, French chanson, Weimar cabaret, and, well, whatever arrives on their radar. This third studio album mixes cheery instrumentals and Pogues-ish singalongs with a clutch of outstanding songs. "Adieu" (sung in German) is brushed with Marlene Dietrich angst, while the cadent "Solitaire" and the jaunty title cut sound in search of a nouvelle vague movie. Great Fun.

Neal Spencer
Mar. 15, 2009 - London Observer


There is no group anywhere to compare with 17 Hippies. The Berlin-based band sounds like nobody and nothing else. They have a body of work second to none, as their recent albums Ifni, Live in Berlin or Heimlich show...

There are two major highlights. The title track with Kiki Sauer's smoochy vocal and its French and Franglish fragrance is intoxicating. Likewise, Uz, the opening blast of wind and strings. Its ambiguities are beautifully delivered in a dialect derived from the arse-end of Hessen. Its declaration in impenetrable dialect German "Uz misch ned/Babbisch guzje uz net" happily delivers mixed messages in translation. It gets a translation in English, French, Standard German, and Spanish. The translations veer between "stick-in-the-mud" and "sticky sweet" (think of how it feels to sit on one.) It is nothing more than Hessian folk-word jazz and is 17 Hippies at their finest. To my mind, the future of 17 Hippies lies in generating new and cover material to rank alongside the best from Ifni and Heimlich. That will be no easy task because they have set the bar so high.

Ken Hunt
May 2009 - fRoots


The city of Berlin has always had a quirkily alternative cultural streak that has set it apart from an otherwise conservative Germany. Whether it was Kurt Weill's cabaret in the roaring 1920s or the 70s punk scene that saw David Bowie and Iggy Pop move to Schöneberg, Berliners have relished a healthy dose of anarchy. Today, you need look no further than world-folk collective 17 Hippies to continue this tradition. Following the success of their previous album Heimlich, 17 Hippies continue to play music that is at turns humorous, chaotic and moving. Sung in French, German, and English with the 13 band members playing instruments ranging from accordions and banjos to clarinets and trombones, the band presents a baffling variety of music.

Nobody could accuse El Dorado of being a homogenous set of songs. 'Arcanul' and 'Kaukapol' are instrumental tracks of yearning Middle Eastern and klezmer melodies set alongside Cajun brass, while 'Adieu' and 'Solitaire' are reflective and beautifully sung chanson. Then there are wistful and witty folk-pop songs, of which those with vocals in German are particularly crisp and striking, such as 'Stern am Ende der Welt.' Not all the tracks work-- the perky 'Six Green Bottles' grates-- but at the heart of the album is the human warmth to be found in all 17 Hippies music. El Dorado is charming precisely because 17 Hippies do not attempt to self-consciously force together the styles of music they love. Instead, their genial curiosity for sounds from other cultures allows them to make music that is comfortable in its own skin.

Tim Woodall
2009 - Songlines


There are only 13 of them, and if they're hippies, they missed the memo about acid rock -- but their misleading name is nothing compared to the dislocation flowing from this long-lived ensemble's wild postmodern pastiche of "new world" music. Some songs on Heimlich, like the infectious opener, are pure dance-hall euphoria. Others feel like techie gypsy music, exuding a melancholy futurama. Hailing from Berlin (where else?) 17 Hippies has torn up the charts on various continents but remains largely-sidelined in the United States at "world music" festivals. For afficionados of that category who are weary of its whiff of dusty anthropology, 17 Hippies serves as an air compressor.

Joseph Hart
Feb. 1, 2008 - Utne Reader


Discography

CD Rock’n’Roll 13 RaP/HIPSTER Records, Berlin 1997
MC Texas Radio RaP, Berlin 1998
CD Wer ist das? RaP/HIPSTER Records, Berlin 1999
CD Berlin Style Buda Musique, Paris 1999
CD Soundtrack zum Film Halbe Treppe HIPSTER Records, Berlin 2002
CD SIRBA Buda Musique, Paris 2002
CD 17 HIPPIES play SEXY AMBIENT HIPPIES RaP/HIPSTER Records, Berlin 2003
CD IFNI RaP/HIPSTER Records, Berlin 2004
CD HARDCORE TROBADORS – 17 HIPPIES & Les Hurlements d’Léo (WAGRAM/Univers.), Paris 2004
CD IFNI, IFNI Buda Musique, Paris 2004
CD 17 HIPPIES play Guitar, feat. Marc Ribot & Jakob Ilja HIPSTER-Records, Berlin 2006
CD 17 Hippies live in Berlin HIPSTER-Records, Berlin 2006
CD + DVD 17 Hippies live in Berlin Buda Musique, Paris 2006
CD Heimlich HIPSTER-Records, Berlin 2007
CD El Dorado, HIPSTER- Records, Berlin 2009

DVD

DVD "Live in Berlin" (with 45 minute documentary and 70 minute concert ) HIPSTER Records, Berlin 2005 (CD’s and DVD are distributed in Germany by SOULFOOD, in Benelux by XANGO Music Distribution, in France by SOCADISC and in Switzerland by DISQUES OFFICE)

REALBOOKS

1999 11 Melodies for Children
2000 17 HIPPIES - Realbook Part I
2001 17 HIPPIES - Realbook Part II

FILM & TV

1999 First 17 HIPPIES videoclip, directed by Wolfgang Becker (Goodbye Lenin)
2000 1-hour special on ARTE (Music Planet)
2001 Soundtrack for MISTSTÜCK, a short film by Randa Chahoud
2002 Soundtrack for HALBE TREPPE by Andreas Dresen
2003 Music for the TV movie TIGERAUGEN SEHEN BESSER for ZDF
2004 90 minutes feature on ZDF 3SAT - 17 HIPPIES live in concert

Photos

Bio

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.

This 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 instrumental 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 1.200 live concerts, all over Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Russia and Japan, with additional single concerts in London and the SXSW festival in Austin, TX.

With their new CD “HEIMLICH” (something between “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 undoubtedly deserve the tag “unique”.

“HEIMLICH“ is the 17 HIPPIES' most recent release. It´s the 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, ranging 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. Look forward to see them perform live!