SHIP OF ARA are Groucho Kangaroo and Stefan Schlensag. Groucho's work with the COSMIC KANGAROOS and Stefan's leading part in THE HIPSTERS are well known realities to dedicated fans of 80's neo-garage and psychedelic sounds throughout the Ruhr-Valley and beyond.
Now they have ventured out to present their folky sides, but that doesn't mean that there's no noise involved. Stefan and Groucho share a fascination for 60's folk and blues recordings on Vanguard, Elektra, Prestige and other collector labels. Within the context of this blues, folk and psychedelic tradition SHIP OF ARA creates a powerful and resonating sound on the basis of acoustic instruments. They start by writing for acoustic guitar and voice only and then adding other instruments such as electric guitar, electric slide guitar, darabuka, banjo, accordion, harmonica and sometimes a good dose of feedback later in the process of production Layers of tremolo effects and droning bass lines make the songs hover around.
Both of the Aras write their own material, using English and German for their song lyrics. The result of the collaboration between Stefan and Groucho can be heard on their first CD “Ship of Ara“, released by Lollipoppe Shoppe (lollipopshop.de), Berlin. It includes the mesmerizing “Yonder“, presenting Stefan on the banjo while he delivers a lonesome whine in an erring falsetto reminiscent of 16 Horsepower. The CD also features a raucous version of the Fred Neil classic “Other Side to this Life“.
“Yes, I do like cover versions“, says Groucho, “but you have to make the song your own. You have to put something of yourself into it.“ And so he does by adding a booming electric slide guitar to Neil's folk song of the 60's. Groucho wrote the
bulk of material this time and his voice leads through most of the songs. “It was a great experience to work on my songs in this context. We created a little gem, I dare say. People should be openminded and just listen. It's a good trip.
SHIP OF ARA is made for water and space alike and you decide where it shall take you.
Groucho Kangaroo: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric slide guitar, darabuka
Stefan Schlensag: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, accordion, harmonica