Tue 23.08.16

A celebration of the 100th birthday of Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue w/ Condor Gruppe + Stefan Lakatos & Dominique Ponty play Moondog

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Fans: Anthony, Elvis Costello, Bowie, Daniel Lanois,…

"The earliest graphic image I have of NYC is of Moondog."
(David Bowie on his first trip to NYC in 1971)


American eccentric Moondog will always be remembered as ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue’. That was the place in Manhattan where he always stood busking as a street musician dressed in Viking attire. It was his protest against the Christianity – a religion that he had rejected as teenager – that people often associated him with, due to his long white hair and ditto beard.

His compositions – that are often shorter than a regular pop song – are often regarded as ‘sketches’, but those who dig deeper will recognize a great composer. Antony & The Johnsons covered his ‘All is Loneliness’, Steve Reich considers him to be the father of the minimalists, Elvis Costello invited him to his Meltdown Festival, he was to be heard in The Big Lebowski, T-Rex and Daniel Lanois sang about him, Andy Warhol designed the cover of his album ‘The Story Of Moondog’, Stef Kamil Carlens had to change his band name Moondog Jr. at the request of Louis Tim Hardin (Moondog’s actual name) and he even recorded an album with Julie ‘The Sound Of Music’ Andrews. Time for a true tribute!


Condor Gruppe released ‘Frog Bog’ earlier this year. A tribute by this band from Antwerp (that also contains members from Mauro & The Grooms and Flying Horseman), on which Moondog is ‘Condor Gruppe-ised’. On ‘Frog Bog’, Moondog’s complicated rhythms, mesmerising lyrics and ever-present stream of percussion are enriched by their (mysterious) filmic sound. It is not without reason that they have also previously been described as ‘Ennio Morricone on LSD’.


When speaking of a tribute, one always heeds the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory, or: how can you be connected to your idol (in this case: Moondog) within 6 common acquaintances. AB took a short-cut and contacted two students/co-musicians of the late Moondog. French pianist Dominique Ponty was the last musician to share the stage with Moondog in ’99 (when he had already been living in Germany for quite a while) and Swedish percussionist Stefan Lakatos, to whom Moondog entrusted his percussion-instrument the trimba – made by Moondog’s own hands in the late ’40s. On the programme: compositions that Moondog wrote for them and also songs that are ‘translated’ from the braille in which the blind Moondog composed.

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