Moondog / The Blind Viking Composer / Artist Spotlight

in music •  last year


If you don't know about Moondog, where the heck have you been for the last fifty years? Ok, that was a bit harsh, I'll forgive you. Despite being insanely influential to the likes of Phillip Glass and Janis Joplin and having countless covers and tributes done to him, not that many people know who he is and that's a real pity.

A bit of background: Moondog was a blind homeless man who lived in New York city busking and walking around on on 6th Avenue, between 52nd and 55th Streets, dressed like a viking and carrying a staff. You heard that right, a blind Viking. He became so well known that he was considered a tourist attraction.


He was considered to be a poet, musician, composer, inventor and theoretician. He also invented multiple instruments; the oo, the oo-ya-tsu and also the trimba. (Pictured below) It's a small percussion instrument. It's still played to this day by his friend Stefan Lakatos who was also taught by Moondog how to build it.

His musical style has been describes as classical, experimental, avant garde and minimalist. He often took inspiration from the sounds of the city.

It was characterized by what he called "snaketime" and described as "a slithery rhythm, in times that are not ordinary [...] I'm not gonna die in 4/4 time". (wikipedia)
-amazing quote right there

There is very little footage of him online. This came from The Moving Finger (1963) and Chappaqua (Conrad Rooks 1966)

Luckily these fine filmmakers are working on a documentary about his life. Unfortunately the kickstarter just ended but you can visit their website for more info and perhaps find another way to support them if you're interested in seeing it. I have put a link below the trailer.


https://www.thevikingof6thavenue.com/

His music is somewhat timeless and still sounds surprisingly current. Moondog is one of those artists whose music has really stood the test of time and I don't want people to stop talking about him!

And finally for the music. This is one of my favorite albums of his: Moondog

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Wow, thanks! Resteemed.

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Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, this guy is a legend!

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HolySmoke! One Discovery Leads to the Next !! Following.... too late to ReSteem apparently ("what's up with that... Never let a good post Die !! YARRRR" says i )This is kind of Obscure stuff is right up my Alley ...

That swing thing around 6:00- THAT'S where it comes from.
Bets the commercial never paid royalties on it.
Most of his stuff IS 4/4- but heavily syncopated.

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The first time I heard that song it sounded familiar, I can't put my finger on where I've heard it though. Your probably right about the royalties :-/

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I think it was a credit card company commercial.

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Lol, I'm sure he would have loved that /s

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Only recently discovered Moondog and yeah, one of my first thoughts was ''where the hell have I been''

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Hehe me too, I wish more people knew about his music it was really special.

Came across Moondog in the Wire magazine. Been a favorite ever since - I especially loved his organ music album.

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I think every one of his albums I listened to were great, there's one (can't recall the name right now) where there is a lot of poetry and street sounds that I really like.

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I just love that he was constantly experimenting for his own satisfaction, and less concerned with marketing and slick production.

Maybe the album was The Viking of 6th Avenue?

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That might be the one! And your definitely right I think that is true for any type of artist, if they love what they'e doing and it's for themselves that shines through and allows them to create something really special and personal.