Saturday, July 22, 2006

Langley Schools Music Project – “Innocence & despair”; [1976-77] @320 kbps- Canadian Children sings the songs that never were taught to them.'til now

Quick!, for 100 points: around 1976-1977 what had in common David Bowie, Brian Wilson, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and the children of three elementary schools in the rural Langley District of western Canada?

Contestant 1
Ahhh, ahhh… Can I buy a vowel?


Contestant 2
Maple syrup! They all love Maple Syrup!

WRONG!, the correct answer is that with songs of the above mentioned artists those kids change the history of modern music with the help of one outstanding individual… Mr. Hans Fenger.

Contestant 1
Can I still buy a vowel?

Shut up pal, I’m doing my work… According to Jennifer Mathieu of the Houston Press the story is the following one:

“As is the case with most "outsider art," the tale of the Langley Schools Music Project is full of serendipity. It begins in the mid-1970s, when a longhaired, underemployed hippie named Hans Fenger takes a job teaching music at three elementary schools in the rural Langley District of western Canada. Bored by conventional kids' songs he believes are "condescending," Fenger chooses instead to instruct his students on the finer points of the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie. He also exposes them to all sorts of instruments, including Orff xylophones and metallophones (because they have removable keys, Fenger can adjust the instruments so no "wrong" notes are played).

Eventually, Fenger gathers the kids in the school gymnasium and captures their covers of such songs as "Help Me, Rhonda" and "Band on the Run" on a two-track tape deck. Later, he presses 300 LPs for the kids and their families. And that's that -- until, more than 20 years later, a Canadian man discovers one of the original records in a thrift store and turns it over to New York radio DJ/outsider music connoisseur Irwin Chusid to play on his Incorrect Music Hour. Chusid, taken by the strange collection, tracks down Fenger (still teaching in Vancouver), discovers he has a second LP from another recording session, and soon the complete collection is being released by Bar None Records for the whole planet to enjoy.

And enjoy it we should. These children are not professionals or prodigies, but that's what makes this odd assemblage so endearing. The naïveté of their performances carries the music above the kitsch level to a place that is magical and good. Wavering from tinny to boisterous, Fenger's students belt out the tunes with no worries about how they'll sound. They fling themselves with reckless abandon into their playing (check out the overstimulated drummer in "Space Oddity"). And the wistful catch in nine-year-old Sheila Behman's voice as she sings "Desperado" will make any feeling person choke up. The longing and exuberance in these creations will stay with you, reminding you of that brief but wonderful time in life when you were never afraid to sing out loud.”

Beatiful indeed, let’s see what said some of our guests stars:

"The backing arrangement is astounding. Coupled with the earnest if lugubrious vocal performance you have a piece of art that I couldn't have conceived of, even with half of Colombia's finest export products in me."
David Bowie (on the Langley students' rendition of "Space Oddity")

"This is beauty. This is truth. This is music that touches the heart in a way no other music ever has, or ever could."
John Zorn

"The effect of all those young voices singing 'Calling Occupants' is charming."
Richard Carpenter, The.Carpenters

"When I heard about the Langley Project, it seemed very interesting, but I did have the thought that it might sound like children singing off-key in a gym. The reality blew me away -- a haunting, evocative wall-of-sound experience that is affecting in an incredibly visceral way. What an Amazing Record!"
Fred Schneider, The.B-52s

"The Langley Schools Music Project is the celebration of passion over skill. They understand these songs better than the people that wrote them. This is real folk music."
Penn Jillette (Penn and Teller)

Well readers, the rest it’s up to you, a nice opportunity to hear the record of your entire life

Keep Listening!

Link in the comments

The Langley Schools Music Project-"Space Oddity"


Algarnas said...

Here are the links:

The Langley Schools Music Project-“Innocence & Despair” part 1

The Langley Schools Music Project-“Innocence & Despair” part 2

bongolong said...

This looks utterly delightful!! I just got done downloading something from RapidShare but must wait 1 hour before downloading again (and to go swimming), can’t wait…

Algarnas said...

Man, thanks for reading our blog, and believe me, it's worth the wait... Later if you want, please submit your opinions. See ya!

Ps: Thanks for Ren & Stimpy!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I thought upon first reading your comments on this album.. yeah.. right... and then I thought, oh what the hell I will just download the first part and have a listen.. DANG... What a delightful surprise! You are right, this is NOT a bunch of elementary kids singing in a gym.. oh wait... it IS a bunch of elementary kids singing in a gym! I wish all elementary kids could be so lucky as to have had this kind of musical experience.. this stuff is life changing. NO seriously, I mean it, I have seen it happen. EVERYONE NEEDS A COPY OF THIS TO SHARE WITH EVERYONE IN YOUR LIVES.. Awesome, heartfelt music.. Thanks so very much!Dr. Q

Algarnas said...

It makes me VERY HAPPY read your comments, glad you like it, please -as you said- share this with EVERYONE.

See Ya

radiowaves said...

PHENOMENAL !!! I'm seriously speechless, you need to listen to it yourself ! Thanks a lot for posting :-)

Blue Eyed Knight said...

Aw, shucks, the links are dead.

Great blog though.

Thank you.

Hamnickel said...

Download it here:

Anonymous said...

re-up please!

isabelbc said...

Anonymous said...

hello, please re-up! sadly the mediafire link is down. thanks

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