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Body of Songs: Musicians Make ‘Music Inspired by the Organs of the Body’

Body of SongsDoes good art come from the heart? Is it in one’s blood to create? What do you get when you pick the brain of an artist? Do you need thick skin to be a creator?

We often use idioms and cliches that refer to body parts when we talk about art, especially music. But what is the connection between art and the body? Body of Songs is a project that seeks to answer this and other questions about science and art. In short, the experiment involves 10 UK musicians, 10 songs and 10 vital organs of the body.

“Through incredible access to specialist clinicians and scientists –  making observations in the operating theatre, meeting with alternative health experts and patients at varying stages of illness and ogling body parts in special museum collections –  each artist has developed a knowledge and feel for their chosen organ. This is then transformed into an original composition to reflect both their experiences and personal relationship to these hidden parts of the body,” reads a press release.

To date, six musicians have released new music to add to the Body of Songs collection: Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, Ghostpoet, Goldie, Afrikan Boy (with Bumi Thomas and Adio), Dave Okumu, and Mara Carlyle (with Max de Wardener). Each of the songs are meant to explore -through emotion, science, sound, harmony and personal history- the ways in which the human body is understood. The artists worked closely with Hugh Montgomery, director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance for the scientific element of the experiment and the lineup of artists has been curated by Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney, composer Llewelyn ap Myrrdin and Beth Clayton.

Only four songs remain, each to be released before the final album which is due out this summer.

Below, listen to three of the newest tracks added to the Body of Songs collection…

Body of Songs is made possible with support from Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England, NHS and University College London Hospital. To learn more about this project and read musicians’ accounts of the experience, visit the official website.

What do you think of this project? Sound off in the comments…

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