Flight 21 of High-Fi Radio – For Your Listening Pleasure

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The Robots – ‘They Play On authentic Instruments’

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Les Robots Musique

The Robots: Oscar on Accordion, Ernest on Sax, and Anatole on Drums (image via 4peepsake)

Seen above is The Robots first lp record album cover released in the late 1960s. They were the first animatronic musical group that actually play real instruments.

An ex-POW in Germany during WWII, [Edouard] Diomgar was an engineer willing to raise money for his ex-POWs relief foundation (whose logo can be seen on the bass drum). During the 1950s and 1960s, he exhibited his robots trio at fun fairs, open air markets or train stations in France…Automatically synchronized, the bots’ movements are impulsed by photoelectric cells reading punch cards, sending information to arms and fingers via electromagnetic action. Most importantly, the robots actually produce music from their instruments, contrary to playback systems in US animatronic. Only the sound of the saxophone is replaced by what sounds like a mechanical Ondioline. Their repertoire includes everything from French musette accordion and popular songs, twist and rock’n’roll numbers from the 1960s, US musicals (#1, Leonard Bernstein) or jazz (#6, Sidney Bechet).

Les Robots-Music were exhibited during an all-robot show in Berlin’s Museum für Kommunikation in 2007. Check out their lively rendition of La Bamba below…

To read a bit more about the history of animatronic robot orchestras click here to get the scoop from Continuo.