I had a really interesting Skype chat with Mark Williams yesterday afternoon.
Not Mark Williams the 1970s New Zealand pop star who had a smash hit with ‘Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life’, but Mark Williams the director of London community arts organisation Heart N Soul. Mark works a lot with musicians with learning disabilities, but has a really groundbreaking approach to it, which is fundamentally collaborative and inclusive.
One of the bands he’s involved with is The Fish Police, who are seriously brilliant. A sort of bizarre funk, hip hop, alt-punk crossover. Zapp meets Outkast and PIL kind of territory – but singing about Japanese comics, imagined television shows and the problem of chicken that doesn’t come with rice. Check them out and download their music.
Dean is the lead vocalist and songwriter in the group, and he’s come up with a project called The Dean Rodney Singers, which is a multinational, collaborative venture, involving singers, dancers, drummers, percussionists and (importantly) vocoder players from around the world.
We’re looking to develop innovative technological approaches to the composition and performance aspects of it that reflects Dean’s unique world view and embraces the participatory, inclusive spirit of the band and of Heart N Soul.
It’s a really exciting project from a couple of perspectives. First, it’s an amazing challenge with a whole lot of potential for great music, innovative technologies and new ways of working. Second, as a piece of research it could be really worthwhile and interesting.
Early days as yet, and there’s lots of work to be done, but I’m really looking forward to getting started on this.