Comedy Nobel celebrates “Wind Music”

Former Newfoundlander Captures Prize In A Breeze

Oct 12th, 2010 | By Coco Cabrera | Category: Featured

Orv Breen, a Newfoundlander long resident in Berlin, has won the Nobel Prize in Comedy.  While virtually unknown in Canada, Breen, a virtuoso of the German comic form Blasmusik or Wind Music, is widely celebrated in Europe.

Breen is best known for his seven-hour long Blasmusik Satiric Opera, “Die Wirtschaft” or “The Economy.”  In Blasmusik tightly controlled flatulence offers comment on the words and actions of players in satiric scenarios.  In “Die Wirtschaft”  a visiting Professor from Spain mocks and humiliates members of the International Monetary Fund during a conference in Zurich.  While “Die Wirtschaft” deals with complex economic issues such as money supply it is also side-splittingly funny.   The experience of laughing so frequently over seven hours is reported to be variously ecstatic and excruciating.

Vlad Ragdalhulich, Director of Bookings for the Har-Hars chain of comedy clubs, said he’d never heard of Breen.  “It’s  good to see the fart joke finally getting some recognition, though.  I’ve always said, at it’s best, it’s art.”

Breen was born and spent his youth in the community of Fermeuse, Newfoundland where the ancient Gaelic art of “Broim Amhran” or Irish Fart Song is still practiced.  Irish fisherman, too impoverished to own musical instruments, would amuse themselves during the long winters by playing tunes with their sphincters. Broim Amhran later gave rise to works created for Wind Duos, Trios and Quartets, and a classical tradition not unlike Blasmusik was born. Breen himself is working on a Wind Concerto, though the comic form is more his forté.

Breen has represented Germany at many festivals and won a prize most recently at Montréal’s Just Pour Rear festival.

Breen left Fermeuse for Berlin in 1981 and has utterly disowned the country of his birth.

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