Polydactyl Hearts are a multimedia collective based in Guelph, ON. Our first project Le Cyc is a graphic novel set to a live musical score which debuted in 2008.
This is the entire hour-long feature which was recorded at Dublin St. United Church in Guelph Ontario in November of 2009. The projected visuals are performed in real-time by artist David Willekes. For more information about the DVD or higher definition downloads, please visit lecyc.ca
Le Cyc is the story of a surreal bike-powered world where themes of power imbalance and popular revolution collide with carnivalesque images of dictators whose smart-talking parrots perch on impossibly long mustaches. The hour long multimedia program combines dark humour and political satire in a compelling story that raises questions about how power is peddled in society.
The project is a collaborative multimedia spectacle combining graphic novel style illustrations that are projected with a live musical narrative by an ecclectic and original 6-piece orchestra. Nearly 400 hand-painted images by visual artist David Willekes depict the gruesome and whimsical tale of Le Cyc. These images, in the somber tones of Willekes’ chosen media, weak coffee and day-old wine, artistically portray the emotive struggles of individuals who stand up against totalitarianism.
Over the course of a year long collaboration, Willekes created the illustrations for Le Cyc while composer Eihab Boraie constructed the score to Le Cyc on an ornate but out-of-tune piano. As the musical arrangements and drawings were simultaneously developed, the haunting story of Le Cyc began to take shape. Boraie’s early songs were at once operatic and manic, as he alternately grunted out the Tom Waits-style voice of villain Mis de Berm and squawked in portrayal of Berm’s parrot side-kick. These initial piano compositions were soon expanded and arranged by a growing collective of Guelph based musicians. The musical piece is performed by Eihab Boraie (vocals/piano/synthesizer), Claire Whitehead (violin), Martin Eckart (saxophone/clarinet), Dan Paille (percussion), Andra Zommers (vibraphone/vocals), and Brad McInerney (bass). The musical accompaniment is inextricably tied to Le Cyc’s visuals. As the complex plot unfolds, the music veers in many different directions, crossing genres at will to keep pace with the story.
The story of Le Cyc chronicles a bike-powered utopia turned rotten by the comically villainous dictator, Mis de Berm. Under his rule, political rivals are secretly tossed outside the city walls into the wastelands of Le Noir before having the chance to vie for power in the “democratic” bike race. Tracing the struggles of leading characters Jean-Paul and Sophie, the plot is supported by a collection of characters who highlight the eccentricities of their unusual town. As power becomes increasingly imbalanced, the popular uprising culminates in an epic bike race.
The debut of Le Cyc was a sold out matinée show at the Kazoo! Festival in September, 2008. Since this first performance, the project has been expanded with over 100 new illustrations, songs, and an extended plot. The finished program went on tour throughout Ontario in the Winter of 2009, playing at theatres, art galleries, bike stores, and selling out the Toronto’s Tranzac Club’s main hall in March. The project has been described by Exclaim! magazine as “An inventive coupling of indie-rock and graphic art exploring social imbalances from a unique perspective”. A limited edition DVD release is planned for Fall 2010.
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