A Song For Jack

Commission for Locws, Swansea, Wales UK LINK

A Song For Jack was a dog choir created as a celebration of Swansea Jack a famous Welsh dog who rescued 27 people from the docks and riverbanks of Swansea, Wales.

50 dogs were auditioned and 8 selected to perform with musicians at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.


The artist wrote the music to resonant with the ear canal of the dog who sang most often. This dog became the pack leader and the other dogs followed her lead. The music shifted around ‘C’ with violins creating the shift to encourage the dogs as they did not respond to the exact frequency of middle C but a few hertz below.

The dogs were recorded in the BBC recording studios in Swansea and their voices applied notionally to the recorded music. The voices were transcribed and examples of the dogs voices could be played by conventional instruments.


The main emphasis was a performance and this was attended by 500 members of the public and their dogs. The concert also included a performance of the Beatles “All You Need Is Love” with the lyric changed to ‘All You Need’s A Dog’ where owners sand to their dogs.

The event was filmed by artist Dave Marchant as document of the event. The event was not intended to be repeated as was to then become an urban myth and the response of the dogs would, like Swansea Jack, move into folklore. The piece is part of a series of ‘Acts Of Folly’ by the artist.  Numerous advertising agencies have attempted to use the idea, included VW without permission. Britain’s Got Talent have attempted to have the choir perform despite being advised it was a project about ‘the moment’ and it now exists in its primary form as a memory. *

The project attracted media attention while The Daily Mail incorrectly suggested it was greatly funded as part of the Swansea Music Festival and it was critisized by a local Conversative MP, one who claiming expenses for a second home in Cardiff as he could not travel the 25 miles back to his main home. (!!!) The project was funded modestly by The Arts Council of Wales through the excellent Locws International.

* A very short edit of the event was screened by Animals Do The Funniest Things by agreement.