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...Wolfgang Temmel did not rest until he had rounded up eight leading musicians and planted the seeds for his Bonsai Garden. Each of these musicians has a whole world of music behind him, each of them has come to possess a certain composure, yet without ever lapsing into routine! It's the kind of mellowness people attain when they are totally into pursuing their musical paths. In BGO, the musicians draw with contentment on their stock of sounds: yodeler and steel guitar, waltz and reggae, blues and polka -- BGO hardly leaves out a popular set-piece that should be included in the repertoire of a top-notch orchestra cruising the waters of world music. BGO cultivates the high art of the incidental, the virtuosity of the just barely. Just barely falling this side of the kitsch line -- but then who actually has the guts to draw this line! ...

Albert Hosp / Radio Ö1, ORF

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Beautiful music is sometimes born out of the unimaginable. Hawaii's sunniness and Austria's sullenness! All at the same time! And on one CD and in every song? Due to his love of the ukulele, minstrel and "all-round dabbler" Wolfgang Temmel teamed up Hawaiians and Austrians, and called them the Bonsai Garden Orchestra. By doing so, he has become responsible for one of this year's most astounding CDs. The Alps encounter the Pacific, and by no means get caught up in the traditional. Yodel and hula meet in a summery groove. Wonderful!

Bernhard Flieher / Salzburger Nachrichten

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And now, after Coconami’s Japanese-Bavarian connection last month, here’s another Alpine treat to wrap things up: nine musicians from Hawaii/USA and Austria meet in Styria’s Bonsai Garden Orchestra to make music in which the ukulele, slack-key guitar and lap-steel guitar play crucial roles. The band’s homepage provides a few golden explanations: “Like many idyllic islands, Austria and Hawaii have a feature in common - they are both multicultural.” And since this can be heard in the music, it’s no surprise when yodeling joins in to accompany Hawaiian vocals. A touch of the flamenco and Celtic folk also mix in the agreeably scrappy atmosphere. It’s like visiting a Heurige* in Honolulu.

Guido Diesing / Jazzthetik 11/08

* A Heurige is an Austrian tavern that serves homegrown wines, and homemade cold cuts and garnishes on wooden platters.

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There where the Alps meet Hawaii, a bonsai blooms all so fine. Wolfgang Temmel, Styrian multimedia artist, rounded up nine musicians in 2008 to create what is probably the most original album in the land. Perfect for recovering from sugarcoated Christmas songs and preparing your ears for the new sounds of spring.

Album of the month: January 2009 / haubentaucher.at

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A highly entertaining musical summit. With Grammy-winning Hawaiian guitarist Ken Emerson, local Austrian and world musicians knock out one catchy tune after another. References to hula rhythms and Styrian yodeling are easy to categorize, both geographically and stylistically. Though at the very latest, when - in the joy of jamming - the players begin to howl with glee, the music no longer seems of this world.

Winfried Dulisch / stereoplay 03/2009

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If you crave summer and just can’t wait to satisfy your need, you can either set out on a journey to a faraway land or play “Take One” by the Bonsai Garden Orchestra (Extraplatte). This good mood combo imports Hawaiian sounds to Styria. Ukuleles and guitars dominate the tracks in which the musicians sometimes let loose and yodel: music for a Buschenschank [a small tavern that serves its own homegrown wine] in Honolulu. Ukulele fan and artist Wolfgang Temmel launched this Styrian-Hawaiian hybrid with a collective of musicians from two cultural worlds for a project during “Regionale 08”, a Styrian art festival. Nearly devoid of ethno-kitsch, the resulting CD offers the sunshine in the heart often so wistfully mentioned. Carefree and charming.

Martin Gasser / Kronenzeitung

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In 2005, guitarist Ken Emerson won a Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. In April 2008, he went into the studio with prominent representatives of the Austrian world music scene. The result: Alpine and Irish melodies played on the ukulele, Hawaiian guitar, violins, along with beer bottles and other percussion instruments. Or gypsy swing and rhythm-and-blues meet Afro-Cuban rhythms and reggae grooves. Or world music with a down-home feeling. Or vice-versa. Or electrifying sounds without electronic gimmicks. Or just don’t worry for once about classifying the style - and unabashedly yodel along or dance on the kitchen table to the most beautiful parts of this CD!

wd@saw / schwarzaufweiss.de







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