Friday, 22 June 2012

Signing & Singing: A Personal Insight

When I was growing up I had 3 friends who were deaf and one of my closest friends, her mum was a teacher with deaf children.

One of my friends taught all of us the basics in BSL so that we could talk with our hands. 

I used to sit on the grass outside my house playing my  old rusty stringed  guitar, writing my little songs, and sometimes she would come and sit with me.

One day, she pressed her head against my guitar while I played. I thought it meant she could hear the music but in hindsight, I expect she could feel the vibrations of the strings. I showed her my lyrics scrawled on a scrap of paper ... she twigged that I was writing songs and she starting signing my lyrics, with her head still against the body of the guitar.

'You try it' ... I pointed at her .. 'YOU' ... then mimed writing ... 'WRITE' ... and then over exagerated singing ... 'A SONG'

She looked puzzled, then smiled and nodded.

She carefully pushed the side of her head against my guitar and signed her song as she felt it ... she was singing with her sign, writing her own song.

I didn't know what her lyrics were but it was so moving that it stayed with me thoughout my whole life and is probably instrumental in my finding as many ways as possible to bring song to everyone: promoting equal access to song.

When I was thinking about my new production and growing a piece of music from complete silence, it was through this inspiration from my childhood that the idea originally came.

It is very special indeed to be making that so with the help of Maggie Hampton, Director of Disability Arts Cymru and percussionist Rachel Hargrave, thanks both. 

Composing a song in this way is something I have wanted to do since being that child sat on the grass signing and singing. Having an Individual Mainline Grant has given me the space to pursue this as part of Fusion Inspire. 

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