Young Souls celebrates the Northern Soul scene; in particular a new generation who are finding their way onto dancefloors and getting involved in this rare soul community.
Made of two parts, a contemporary photographic series depicting young people from the Northern Soul scene and secondly a short monochromatic film that reflects the experience of going to a Northern Soul club.
Since Dean created Young Souls a number of music and fashion productions have mirrored the content. These reflections are themselves a flattering testament to it’s impact, all be it in a more commercial and derivative way to illuminate the audience to the passion of the Northern Soul scene.
‘I didn’t set out to create the definitive story of Northern Soul through this collection, but I did aim to celebrate it. The photographic aspect is a study focusing on the burgeoning generation of young people getting into the scene, whereas the film brought the atmosphere and wonder of Northern Soul to life. I didn’t want to just recreate the past, but I did aim to produce timeless works that illustrate the culture as never before. It is great to show how people dance to Northern Soul music, but more importantly how it is a passionate experience, and how its devotees are immersed in it. ‘ – Dean Chalkley
In the making of Young Souls, Dean was very careful to exercise the utmost integrity on the project as it is near to his heart. Northern Soul as a culture is fiercely protected by its devotees.
That is what enables it to, "Keep On Keeping On.”
What started as a small underground working class scene, an offshoot of the soul music loving Mod movement in the 1960’s grew throughout the 1970’s in the North of England.
The Northern Soul culture moved away from the exclusive Mod audience becoming very much it’s own thing, with unique dance moves, dress codes and the trajectory of music played.
In the early days all of notable clubs were in the North of England, Blues and Soul writer Dave Godin coined the term Northern Soul when soul music fans from the North of England came to his record shop asking for uptempo soul records. As the culture grew, legendary clubs like the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, Golden Torch in Stoke, Blackpool Mecca, and the Wigan Casino became legendary places to attend all night sessions.
While most of the records played in these clubs had little or no commercial success in the USA where they were recorded, Northern Soul DJ’s have given these wonderful recordings the dancefloors they deserve, many have now become classics and highly collectable.
Over the years dance styles and fashions grew and changed, Northern Soul dancers have the reputation as being great movers, at times acrobatic as well as being graceful and there are some signature fashions that are connected with the scene.
As time passed all of the big clubs eventually closed, however, this rare soul music scene is still very much alive today; clubs are attended by a broad age range of devotees all ‘Keeping the Faith’. Big Weekenders, All-Dayers/Niters especially in the North of England still attract hundreds, even thousands of dancers and the famous 6t’s All-Niter at the 100 Club in London is now the longest running monthly ‘Niter’ in the country, running for nearly four decades.
This scene is driven by passion. It’s evident by the number of miles people are willing to travel in order to enjoy their nights of dancing. Recently, more and more young people are finding their way onto the dancefloors and into the scene becoming the next generation of Northern Soul fans.