The Dean Rodney Singers is Heart n Soul’s most ambitious arts project to date. Autistic artist Dean Rodney is working with seventy-two band members made up of musicians, singers and dancers from seven countries across the world.
The countries involved are Japan, China, South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Croatia and the UK. See the project promo here.
The project has been commissioned for Unlimited, a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Working together online, the global band are creating dynamic new music, dance and video using cutting edge web technology. Most significantly, they are creating twenty-three songs for the project, which is creating a space where disabled and non-disabled bands members are collaborating together to make the songs come to life.
Dean will curate the pieces and along with his music mentor Charles Stuart, has shared snippets of beats, musical phrases, song titles or lyrics to get the collaborations rolling. The songs are now being written, composed, improvised and played by the band itself. You can listen to the songs created by the band so far on Soundcloud here.
All the songs have been created using a number of computer tablet apps. Each band member is using their tablets to create their own versions of Dean’s original pieces of music. Dean and Charles will pull together elements of all the songs created by each band member. They will then craft out 3-4 songs per country and these will be heard at the installation.
We started staggering the release of the music to each country in May. The UK band were the first to start the collaboration process with Dean. Since then, Dean has visited each country to meet and collaborate with the bands, along with his music mentor Charles and Heart n Soul’s Artistic Director Mark Williams.
Dance and visuals are also key to the project and along with his dance (Mel Simpson), visual (Adele Jeffs) and video (Hannah Mason) mentors, has provided dance moves and visual aesthetics to the bands which they can improvise upon and create their own versions of too. Watch their progress on YouTube here.
Each country also has a country co-ordinator who acts as the link between the project team and the artists.
Dean’s favourites will be featured as part of the installation of the project which will be happening at the Blue Bar, Level 4 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre from Friday 31 August- Sunday 9 September.
The installation will be an interactive audio-visual treat as the world of Dean Rodney Singers comes to life. You will have the chance to delve into the mind of Dean and see his fantasy world for yourself. You’ll be able to interact with the music, videos and images created in a totally unique way. The installation will be playful, fun, exploratory and multi-layered. To make it happen, we are working with Sound and Music and Dr Mick Grierson, Director of Creative Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London.
As Dean says, this is a “Yeehaw moment!”