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Tuesday 06 April 2021

Philippe Cohen & Mike Lindsay Reveal More Of Their Audio, Visual & Digital Exploration Of Outsider Artist Henry Darger

Philippe Cohen Solal (Gotan Project) and Mike Lindsay (Tunng) continue their audio, visual and digital exploration of America's most celebrated Outsider artist Henry Darger, with the next instalment of the project.

Featuring featuring Adam Glover & Hannah Peel, the panoramic official video for Onward In The Fight, is lifted from new album, Outsider.

Created by Gabriel Jacquel, the new video is inspired by Henry Darger's 15000 page novel,  The Story of the Vivian Girls in the Realms of the Unreal, where he describes the courageous little girls' battle against adults who want to enslave them. 

The Vivian girls are at the heart of this new animation video, which sees one of the heroines ride across the wide plain followed by friends and family on horses to face a powerful army.

Philippe Cohen Solal says: 

"Henry Darger was not only an awesome visual artist, but also a prolific writer. 'Onward In The Fight' should give us the courage to confront obscure forces. Onward!" 

The album is a musical and visual extrapolation of Darger, his obsession with the weather, his tormented Christian faith, deceptively naive paintings and lyrics to songs, that have never before been set to music, written over fifty years ago. 

Darger was a reclusive hospital janitor, whose epic fantasy novels and visual artwork set the art world aflame upon its posthumous discovery. 

Darger's work now exhibits around the world, changes hands for close to a million dollars and has admirers among artists including Grayson Perry, the Chapman brothers and musicians like Nick Cave, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens and Devendra Banhart. 

Ousider has been five years in the making and the brainchild of Philippe Cohen Solal, the million-selling artist, producer and composer who co-founded Gotan Project. 

Solal has been given exclusive, unprecedented access to Henry Darger's estate comprising lyrics, poems and visual art and has brought together an epic collaboration with Mike Lindsay from acid folk group Tunng, Hannah Peel and the vocals of Adam Glover. 

The songs shimmer around the edges of altered states, swelling through classic 1950s microphones, like Scott Walker at a pagan festival, music textured with mid-century Americana, under-the-radar found sound and hard weather.


It's PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake' orchestrated by Ennio Morricone in an illustrated world peopled by angels, valiant children, marching battalions, and vast, colourful landscapes depicting all of the above. 
Solal and Lindsay co-wrote and co-produced all the tracks, with solo artist and composer Hannah Peel on brass, strings and backing vocals to portray Darger's child characters, the Vivian girls, and Adam Glover bringing the lush, crooning lead vocals, that conjur up Scott Walker and reflect the inner voice of Darger himself through the original lyrics.  

Speaking about the album, creator Philippe Cohen Solal said: 

"I first came across Henry Darger's work in 2003, and it has stayed with me ever since.

"I feel I know Darger. So many years I've been reading his books and living with his work and words. I feel connected because of the kind of child he was. 

"The outside world was pretty mean to him when he was young and I relate it to what is happening to the world now: with autocrats and mean people. 

"We call him an 'outsider artist' but he was very inside himself - and he created a whole world inside. 

"Outsider has been five years in the making and it's been a real labour of love. 

"I imagined Adam's luxurious, fantastically powerful and beautiful voice being the voice inside Henry's head, the projection of himself to be stronger, more powerful."

Hannah Peel added: 

"You'd think the way he was writing; he'd gone to Woodstock on a crazy trip and then gone to church to cleanse his soul. 

"He was a janitor but it's like he had about ten different past lives, and ten future lives. 

"Musically, it's more resonant than ever. It's really energetic and full and so full of hope and beauty and I think that's really important with what we've all been through over this last year." 

Outsider's reflection of what it means to make art, isolated in one room has taken on extra relevance when so many of us are living in small spaces under lockdown. 

Philippe and his band of musicians have taken Darger's questions of isolation, imagination and a David and Goliath fight against evil and turned them into the strangest, yet most beautiful lullabies you'll likely to hear.

Philippe Cohen Solal and Mike Lindsay's new album 'Outsider' is available HERE.

by: Mike Cobley


The First Release of Brighton Fringe events will feature comedy from Paralympic, World Championship and European Championship dressage medallist Ricky Balshaw; Love and Money, a play by internationally-acclaimed writer Dennis Kelly and the return of award-winning comedy actress Joanna Neary with a show based on her comedy podcast Wife On Earth.

On the 21st December hundreds of people will walk 5k to support the NSPCC. Landmarks across the UK, including the BA i360 in Brighton and Lancing College Chapel are also supporting the charity by lighting up and turning the NSPCC's trademark green colour.

Creative Learning at Theatre Royal Brighton runs a programme of workshops, performances, talks, tours and events alongside the shows on its stage. 

Mr Bruce - former frontman of The Correspondents - marks the start of his solo career in spectacular style with the release of Race To Nowhere [Part One], and a date at Brighton's Green Door Store.

Following last year’s virtual sing-along, Brighton Festival Chorus (BFC) returns to the stage for its annual Christmas Concert at Brighton Dome on Sunday 12 December at 4pm. 
Credit Vicki McManus

Budding young circus performers are preparing to take to the stage at Brighton Dome this December, with help from professional artists from Circolombia.

When the lights go up at the start of the performances of Riverdance: The New 25th Anniversary Show at The Brighton Centre next month, the excitement will be palpable, not just from the audience but very much from all the performers too.

The Beatles famously turned their back on touring towards the end of their career but The Bootleg Beatles, due to Covid, as with the rest of the industry were forced into an unwanted hiatus. 
Credit David-Geli

Komedia has teamed up with leading independent comedy promoters Little Wander for a fresh take on their weekend stand-up comedy offering.

After years spent living on opposite sides of the Atlantic world events threw Laura Mary Carter and Steven Ansell of Brighton's Blood Red Shoes back together into what has become the must fruitful era of their 17 years together. 
Florin and Charlie

Over one-hundred Brighton residents have been offered full or part time roles on-site at the £120 million Edward Street Quarter development as part of an ongoing social value commitment to support the local community.

The South-East's largest charity supporting vulnerable young people, YMCA DownsLink Group, has launched its Christmas fundraising appeal
Credit Vic Frankowski

Brighton city centre will once again be filled with a sea of colour and creativity as thousands of school children, teachers and volunteers celebrate the return of the Brighton Festival Children's Parade after a two-year gap on Saturday 7th May 2022.
Credit Rosie Powell

This year, Towner Eastbourne invited members of the LGBTQIA+ community in East Sussex to take part in a unique creative project, exploring personal responses to artworks in the Towner Collection, through a queer lens. 

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