I saw someone signing a song today and thought about Paul Whittaker OBE today and Music-for-the-deaf.html today. A fantastically inspired and funny man. I met him at a do when he, myself and Gervais Finn were running workshops on the same morning. They were expecting Adrian Partington,
but he was ill so Gitika Partington was the last minute replacement, and they just the replaced the Adrian with a G. on the cheque at the end of the day. I wonder if we are related….Paul thought my name was Jessica ( crap lip reading I joked!), but gave a sort of ‘after dinner speech that made me cry with laughter, as did Gervais Finn! Life story below, amazing man.
SONG OF THE DAY – Ain’t No Mountain -Ashford and Simpson -Sing Up version…signed for the deaf. I love signing.. I love the middle aged rubenesque woman in the very ordinary clothes who signs the MTV channel in the middle of the night…what a groovy chick she is. There was an amazing signer at the Royal Albert Hall once who made me cry when he was signing the instrumental solos for the kids from the local deaf school who come and sing and sign at the bog schools singing festival.One of my regrets is that I never learned to sign. I think we should all have learned at school. Signing songs is a really good start.
Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to are those by the American a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. They are the most joyous, life-affirming group and the singing and the messages are even better live than on CD. They use a ASL signer always and when they last came to Britain to perform they were joined by a BSL signer as well. To us hearing people the signers are an integral part of the group in a way that’s hard to explain, but to the many deaf people who attend their gigs it is apparent that the experience is a joyous and engaging one. Each time that they come over I take more and more people to see them because their gigs are addictive – a great pity therefore that they haven’t been over for a few years. It seems to be lack of finance for a visit is the problem, but I can’t recommend them too highly.
I love them!!!…my dad bought me tickets to see them at the Royal Albert Hall in about 1987 and I did a workshop with them at the BArbican in about 1996 where I picked up a leaflet about Frankie Armstrong’s Community CHoir Training week…and the rest as they say is history..I saw them about 4 or 5 years ago at the festival hall…and your a re so right..their signer is intoxicating!