30 May 2024

‘My poems on Broadway? That’s mind-blowing!’

by Sam Hawcroft

The poetry of Dean Wilson has crossed the Atlantic and made its debut on Broadway – much to the amazement of the Gazette contributor and self-styled “Withernsea’s second-best poet”.

After acclaimed jazz musicians Erik Leuthäuser and Arta Jēkabsone discovered one of Dean’s books in a shop in London, they loved his poems so much that were inspired to write some songs based on them. They were later used in DeanWorld, which Dean made with filmmaker Dave Lee.

Dean said: “Erik is German and Arta is Latvian, but lives in New York. After we used them in DeanWorld, they decided to write more songs using my poems and, before we knew it, there were 10 of them.

“They’re all so clever and beautiful. It’s mainly just their voices with a little piano and percussion. I love what they’ve done with my words. I never thought they’d make good lyrics – but I was wrong.”

With Dave’s help, the album – named BeachFinds – was released on the independent label Irregular Patterns last autumn.

Dean added: “We called it BeachFinds because, just like I find things on the beach and turn them into photos and poems, Erik and Arta found my poems and made them into songs. It’s all about things being found and turned into art. The cover features things I’ve found along the Holderness coast.”

Some of the songs have since been sung in concert by the German National Youth Choir and, last week, Erik, Arta and musician Kengchakaj played the whole of the album at New York’s prestigious Jazz Gallery club.

Dean said: “So, poems that I wrote while wandering along the beach at With and at places like Kilnsea and Mappleton are being performed on Broadway and all over the world. The album has even been nominated for an award in Latvia. It’s all a bit mind-blowing.

“We’re trying to find a way to get Erik and Arta to East Yorkshire to play a concert featuring the songs. Probably in Hull, but who knows? We may end doing it in With or Hornsea or anywhere we can.”

WIN the CD!
We have a copy of BeachFinds to give away,
courtesy of Dean Wilson and Dave Lee.
For your chance to win it, email your name and address to
[email protected],
using the subject line “Dean Wilson CD Competition”.
Alternatively, post your details to us at the Gazette,
Seaside Road, Withernsea, HU19 2DL.
Closing date: Thursday, May 4.