Dean Jones' Exotic Instruments

Exotic Instruments

Solo One-Man Band Shows with an Interactive Bent
Great for classrooms, after-school programs, libraries, and birthday parties!

Dean Jones is known to many as the leader of Dog on Fleas, the critically acclaimed band, which has released 6 albums in its first 10 years. He has also been performing as a one-man band for 12 years, as the musical director and voice of the Arm of the Sea Theatre Company, a traveling large-scale mask and puppet theater troupe, and with Hudson River Playback Theatre, an improvising company of actors. Dean is a musical omnivore, collector of instruments, and a student of ethnomusicology.

Now he is taking his giant collection of musical instruments from all over the world, loading it into a Subaru, and bringing it to libraries and schools. Dean performs with a looping device, adding layer upon layer of sound as he picks up his instruments, making a complete improvised creation in front of astounded audience members. Dean talks about the origins of some of the instruments, and about the cultures that created them, and he throws in a tiny bit of the physics of sound for good measure.

Depending on the size of the audience there are many instruments that can be passed around and experienced hands on. Dean also has a large repertoire of songs from this country and many others to share and teach. He often teaches a Native American song or two to the audience. With tricks up his sleeve and a joyous approach to music making, Dean never fails to thrill and inspire audiences.

The instrument collection includes jaw harps from Vietnam and the Philippines, African talking drums, flutes from almost every continent, Jamaican Rhumba box, autoharp, bullroarers, bird calls, nose flute, Zimbabwean thumb pianos, Nigerian clay Udu drums, Brazilian Cuica friction drums which mimic monkeys and always steal the show, homemade creations and much more.

Quotes about Dean’s other projects:

“We just had our kick off program with a great band called Dog On Fleas. They are great musicians, catering to kids of all ages and their adult counterparts (sometimes hard to do), professional, creative, and overall, a lot of fun - we had a terrific turnout! The kids, adults and librarians all had a terrific time dancing. Many came back the next day to find out more about the band members and recommend a return engagement! Highly recommended!” - Ginny Neidermier, Director Josephine-Louise Public Library

We love Dog On Fleas’ use of eccentric instrument choices—like the piccolo, African Udu drums and musical saws—but mostly we love that parents and kids can listen (without pretending to enjoy) together. Kids will enjoy the interesting sounds and quirky ways that Dog on Fleas use their voices to create a picture of what ever they are singing about.” - Canadian Family Magazine

“When I Get Little is a delightfully eclectic array of unique tunes tasting of bluegrass, Cajun, World, and straightforward rock. The album includes some real treasures, including ‘The Coo-Coo’, which boasts exotic balafons and djun-djun drums’ the ragtimey ‘Moon Song’; and the folksy, a cappella ‘Honeybaby.’” – Mothering Magazine, January/February 2007

“Dog on Fleas has been performing together for several years now, and it shows on Cranberry Sauce Flotilla, their third CD for kids. Recorded mostly with a single microphone in band leader Dean Jones's living room in upstate New York, the songs exude loads of organic vitality. The group's use of fiddles, tubas, mandolins, acoustic guitars, and an upright piano, combined with their down-home song selections, will make you feel like you're listening to The Band, playing at Big Pink…. This is wonderful music from a fantastically talented group.” - 12 Kids' Albums You Can't Live Without -- School Library Journal, 7/1/2007

updated: 5 years ago