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Danielle Williams—the experience of seeing sound

Published: 
Friday, June 1, 2018
Soprano Danielle Williams PICTURE WESLEY GIBBINGS

Every now and then, somebody initiates a challenging discussion about the relationship between art and science. Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the best example of someone who straddled these disciplines with excellence; but he was one in a million.

Several contemporary musicians have emerged from hard science backgrounds to provide proof that these vantage points on the world and how it works are actually not that far apart.

For example, in T&T, medical doctor Kongshiek Achong Low performed for some time as a calypsonian by the name of ‘Dr Soca’, and Trinidadian aviation engineer, Sheldon Garfield Skeete, was named Calypso Monarch of the United Kingdom in 2012.

Accomplished young T&T soprano, Danielle Williams, who describes herself as a “singer/scientist,” seems pretty clear on the main issues here—the distinction between science and art is something of an illusion.

There is much in Williams’ background to reinforce the point. Not only has she completed advanced studies in Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences, in anticipation of a now seemingly-abandoned future career in medicine, Williams also has an Artist Diploma in Music Performance from the University of T&T and has completed advanced artistic training at an opera studio programme in Härnösand Sweden.

For Williams, being a singer/scientist “is really a distillation of who I am and what I would like to offer to the local and international community. I’d like to use music and science to help transform the world. The worlds within and around us.”

It’s not all modern-era artistic gobbledygook though. The 30-year-old works hard at song and science and the numerous junctures at which they intersect. She is absolutely no slouch onstage as an operatic soprano and has matching accomplishments in scientific studies.

Being a singer/scientist, she says, “allows space for my brand to evolve to reflect all of my artist and scientific interests: vocal science and performance, pedagogy and eventually vocology and clinical practice.”

“I approach each facet of my life and artistry through this art/science filter—research well, find a balanced data-centred perspective, understand best practice, test, refine.

“Then, with a healthy dose of tell-a-story, emote, let go, feel.”

There is a major project of hers in the making that challenges popular beliefs in such matters. It involves the establishment of an ArtScience Foundation which Williams, 30, sees as a facility that will “create experiences designed to encourage critical thinking through the exploration of the interaction between art and science.”

How she sees this working in practical terms is through the use of “themed pop-up installations” that will be “immersive, interactive and participatory with a view of further developing the critical thinking and problem solving skills of the participant.”

This thesis will be put to the test on June 9 and 10 at Grundlos Kollektiv, 11 Cipriani Boulevard in Port-of-Spain when Williams presents Seeing Sound—“an immersive interactive visual and sonic experience which fuses digital art, film, music and dance.”

The live show will be an interactive art installation that explores cymatics (sound and vibration) and chromesthesia (sound and colour synchronisation).

The musical component of the experience will include hits, in different musical genres, from popular movies, operas and musical theatre.

“Woven together with film and poetry,” Williams says, “Seeing Sound will take the audience on a captivating journey that will leave them entertained, inspired and renewed.”

Interested? Click on www.daniellekwilliams.com/tickets or call
685-8970 or 785-8743.

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