Popol Vuh

Formed in Munich, Germany in 1969, Popol Vuh was known as a pioneering group in krautrock and electronic music. The group is also known for their musical contributions to several films by director Werner Herzog. Founded by Florian Fricke (keyboards, vocals), Popol Vuh’s line-up remained fluid until their dissolution in 2001. Members of the group throughout the years included sound engineer Frank Fiedler, Daniel Fichelscher (guitar , percussion), Conny Veit (guitar), Klaus Wiese (percussion) and Renate Knaup (vocals). Taking their name from a 16th century Mayan religious manuscript, the Book of Community, Popol Vuh’s early years were heavily influenced by experimental electronic music and ethnic music. These different musical genres inspired the use of the Moog synthesizer and African / Asian percussion on albums such as Affenstude (1970) and In den Gärten Pharaos (1971). Beginning with Hosianna Mantra (1972), Popol Vuh introduced more instruments including electric guitar, piano, harpsichord, twelve-string guitar, oboe and tamboura. On Das Hohelied Salomos (1975), they even added sitar and tabla to their arsenal of musical instruments. Director Werner Herzog asked the band to contribute music for his film Aguirre, the wrath of God (1972), which led Popul Vuh to release the 1973 album Aguirre (1975). This collaboration with the director included music for the film Cœur de verre, which also found its way to the Popol Vuh album Herz aus Glaus (1977). Further work with the director included music for the films Nosferatu (1978), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra Verde (1987). Popol Vuh subsequently released the albums For You and Me (1991), City Raga (1995), Shepherd's Symphonie - Hirtensymphonie (1997), and Messa di Orfeo (1999). Band leader Florian Fricke died on December 29, 2001, at the age of 57, bringing an end to Popol Vuh. However, many compilations have been released throughout the years which remind listeners of the group’s importance in electronic music and krautrock.

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