Moondog | Artist

Moondog | Artist

Tags: Era_1960s, Gender_Male, Genre_Experimental, Origin_USA, Type_Artist

Louis Thomas Hardin aka "Moondog" was an American musician, composer, theoretician, poet and inventor born 1916 in Marysville, Kansas. Blind from the age of 16 due to a farm accident with a dynamite cap, Hardin learned the principles of music in several schools for the blind, and taught himself the skills of ear training and composition. In 1943 he moved to New York City and met many musical luminaries such as Leonard Bernstein, Arturo Toscanini, Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman. By 1947 Hardin called himself Moondog and began wearing a viking cloak and carriying a trident as he walked the streets of NYC. One of his early street posts was near the 52nd St. nightclub strip, where he was known to local jazz musicians. From the late 1940s until 1972, Moondog lived as a composer and poet in New York City, occasionally playing in midtown Manhattan, eventually settling on the corner of 53rd and Sixth Ave. He survived by selling poetry, music compositions and street busking. Moondog's music was an early form of ambient music influenced by native American chants, modern jazz and classical music, all fused with the sounds he heard around him in the city. He also founded the Moondog Record label to publish his music. In 1974 he moved to Münster in Germany to pursue his interests in Nordic culture. Moondog released 17 albums in his lifetime. 1969's Moondog is his masterpiece, other outstanding releases include Moondog (1956), Moondog 2, In Europe, H'art Songs, Elpmas, Sax Pax for a Sax and the 2005 compilation of early EP's Viking of Sixth Avenue. Also recommended is the 2018 Deutsche Grammophon release Moondog arranged and performed by modern classical pianist Katia Labéque. After his death in 1999, Moondog's music was critically reassesed and viewed as being an influence on early Minimalist composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich. As a young child, his father took him to an Arapaho Sun Dance where he sat on the lap of Chief Yellow Calf and played a tom-tom made from buffalo skin. This experience sparked Moondog's lifelong interest in spirituality rooted in the rituals and music of native American indians, which shaped his music profoundly.

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Featured Albums: Moondog

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