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Yorkshire artist proves that the Cultural Olympiad is Irresistible with his breath-taking siren symphony

  • Date: 21 June 2012
  • Area: North
man standing on rocks

'Irresistible -Call of the Sirens' - Mind the Gap. Credit: Tim Smith

This month, an ancient rock formation on Ilkley Moor will provide the stunning backdrop to a full-scale sensory experience - quite unlike anything you've ever heard or witnessed before.

The stunning world premiere of Irresistible - Call of the Sirens will feature live performance - combining warning sirens and choral music with digital projections to form a noisy and dazzling siren symphony. The project will showcase a cast of more than thirty performers, and will feature seven new songs influenced by a mix of musical genres - from blues and country to rap and hip hop - all performed against a specially designed backdrop, projected directly onto the ancient Cow and Calf rock formation.

Irresistible - Call of the Sirens is the brainchild of multi-talented composer, performer and musician Jez Colborne, and is one of a series of commissions awarded as part of Unlimited - a project at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad that celebrates disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale. The commission is a collaboration with Bradford-based Mind the Gap, an award-winning theatre company that works with learning disabled and non-disabled actors, and one of the Arts Council's National portfolio organisations.

The project is influenced by the mythical story of Odysseus, and how he survived the devastating sirens who used their beautiful hypnotic songs to lure sailors to their death. The format is driven by Jez's life-long fascination with sirens and how he seeks to hear music, where most of us hear noise.

Jez Colborne said: 'Irresistible brings a whole new meaning to sirens, mixing them with singers, music and lighting to make sirens the star of the show!'

Tim Wheeler, Artistic Director, Mind the Gap said: "It is fantastic to be presenting Jez's work, firstly here in Yorkshire against the stunning landscape of the moors, before taking it to the capital as part of London 2012 Festival when the eyes of the world will be looking to UK artists to deliver the most interesting and innovative work."

Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: "Jez's work has it all - music, visuals, performance, and a stunning backdrop.  London 2012 is providing the opportunity for some extraordinary arts experiences across Yorkshire and I am really pleased I already have my ticket for this one!'

Irresistible - Call of the Sirens runs from 21 - 23 June. Tickets are limited, so attendees are encouraged to book through the website. The project will also represent the region as part of the London 2012 Festival, and will be performed around the National Theatre and Southbank Centre in London in September.

The three rounds of Unlimited Commissions took place in March 2010, January 2011 and August 2011, awarding 23 artists funds totalling £1,200,000. Other projects supported in Yorkshire include Michele Weaver's Box of Frogs, Simon McKeown's Motion Disabled and David Toole and Lucy Hind's The Impending Storm. Unlimited is principally funded by the Olympic Lottery Distributer and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

Irresistible - Call of the Sirens is just one of the events that you can experience as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The Cultural Olympiad is an amazing arts and culture programme linked to London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. What's more it's happening where you live - so you don't need to visit London to be a part of London 2012, you can take part right here in Yorkshire, on your own doorstep.

Find out more about activities happening near you this Summer.