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Dean Rodney Singers: Reaching for the stars. They’re out there.

Dean Rodney

On February 29 I spent a happy afternoon in Deptford, South London, at The Albany, the home of several creative and performing companies, including Apples and Snakes, Headway and Entelechy Arts.

I was visiting Heart n Soul, a creative company that nurtures, supports and works with learning disabled artists. Together they make music, theatre, dance, visual art, digital art, films and clubs.

My mission was to get to the heart and soul of the enigma that is Dean Rodney Singers, who have been commissioned for Unlimited, a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Heart n Soul

After a warm welcome from Sandra (Communications Officer), I met with Mark (Chief Executive/Artistic Director) who filled me in on all the detail. I asked about Heart n Soul.

Heart n Soul is a place of self-expression,’ Mark told me. ‘We’re not about labelling and we don’t tell people what to do.’

Heart n Soul works with talented and creative disabled and non disabled people, trying new ways of doing things. It’s about opening up creative paths for, by and with people who have a passion for making music, dance, or other art form.

Dean Rodney

When I met Dean he was rehearsing with his creative and dance mentors Adele and Mel. They were making film clips using an iPad, the cool technological tool at the core this epic enterprise.

Dean is a young man with energy and autism. He got involved with Heart n Soul when he was 14, taking to performing like a natural.

In 2005 he started his own band, Fish Police. The group is made up of Dean (rapper, co-songwriter), Matthew Howe (guitar) and Charles Stuart (keyboards, co-songwriter, background vocals).

Big music fans, their key musical influences range from Kraftwerk and Daft Punk to Bob Marley and Will Smith. They fuse all this with their passion for computer games, cartoons, fast food and Japanese culture to create their own distinctive sound.

Fish Police will be releasing an album in the summer 2012.

Dean Rodney Singers

In 2010, Dean wrote a song called the Dean Rodney Singers. It was about a mission – getting disabled and non-disabled artists from around the world to work together.

Dean Rodney Singers is Dean's personal vision, a mighty one that continues to evolve: 72 (seventy-two) performers from 7 (seven) countries - China, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Croatia, South Africa and UK. Together they will produce 21 (twenty-one) songs with videos. All of this on iPads.

Team Dean is, as I write, busy composing, curating, creating and sharing all manner of beats, bars, moves, grooves and images to inspire and get everyone started. All of it generated on an iPad using a whole range of amazing apps.

The songs will be written, composed, improvised and played by the band itself, using the best web technology they can get hold of.

The audience can be part of this too, watching and listening online, as it is being created, and contributing to it if they choose. Dean’s song MIMI will soon be available for remix.

The project’s finale will be an interactive sound and visual installation at the London Festival, 1 to 9 September 2012. This will be another chance for audiences to enter and be part of Dean’s world. They’ll be able to take get involved with the music, videos and images created, make their own track or appear in a video.

Phew!

Keep up with Dean Rodney Singers here:

DRS Website www.deanrodneysingers.com

DRS YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/DeanRodneySingers?feature=watch

DRS SoundCloud Page http://soundcloud.com/the-dean-rodney-singers

 

 

 

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 6 March 2012

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 7 March 2012

A bigger bummer

Once upon a time block-buster art shows were sweaty occasions where we crawled around the galleries in rugby scrums, catching brief glimpses of the exhibits if we were lucky. Most unpleasant.

Happily, the modern art of crowd control as practiced by the Royal Academy last week, meant that Hockney’s A Bigger Picture was, for the most part, a cool and comfortable experience. Entrance was staggered and numbers limited. There was space to move, with ease. I could stare and study the pictures for as long as I liked.

Except for the culture coach trippers.

I was sitting on the bench resting my bones, taking a longer look at the art, when along came a trio of ladies in lemon up from Leatherhead, complete with holiday hair and matching handbags. They stationed themselves between me and my hero, their bums in my face, nattering non-stop about some nonsense to do with one of their number who was not attending.

Eventually my amazed gaze got to them, and they sidled off to join the rest of their party. In the tea rooms, probably.

It’s a day’s work, going to an art exhibition. And a day’s work writing the review. So I’ll stop here
and get on with it.
 

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 30 January 2012

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 30 January 2012