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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005, 09:37 GMT
World premiere for 'Darwin dub'
Benjamin Zephaniah (left) and Professor Mark Pallen
Prof Pallen was inspired by poet Benjamin Zephaniah
Two academics are paying an unusual homage to naturalist Charles Darwin's seminal study, The Origin of Species.

Prof Mark Pallen and PhD student Dom White, both of Birmingham University, are performing extracts from the work in dub, a hybrid form of reggae music.

The pair's efforts will be the highlight of celebrations of Darwin's birthday on campus in Birmingham.

As well as music, Friday's event at the university's Medical School includes a talk on the evolution of language.

The self-styled Genomic Dub Collective came together after Prof Pallen, a bacteriologist, was inspired by a reading from Birmingham poet Benjamin Zephaniah at last year's event.

Computer-generated music

Mr Zephaniah read out anti-slavery poetry by Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.

"After that, I was wondering what to do for this year," Prof Pallen said.

"I happened to meet a Jamaican scientist.

"We just got together and thought, why don't we do this and take it one step further and realise it in reggae form?"

Jamaican-born Mr White, a geneticist, puts the vocals to Prof Pallen's computer-generated music.

The duo's work, which they will be performing for the first time, includes adapted readings from the Origin of Species to a roots reggae beat and an exploration of human evolution in Africa.

Other events in the Darwin Day birthday celebration include a lecture on the hunt for the remains of HMS Beagle, which is now believed to be buried in the Essex marshes.

Darwin Day is celebrated around the world to mark the life of the evolutionary scientist, who was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury.

Darwin's Beagle ship 'found'
27 Feb 04 |  Science/Nature
Did Darwin evolve his theory?
16 Oct 03 |  South East Wales
Darwin's letters return to their roots
27 Aug 02 |  Science/Nature


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