Music and Sign Language

Holly Maniatty providing sign language at a concertA friend of mine shared an interesting article the other day — How Do You Say Shaolin in Sign Language?

It’s about Holly Maniatty, a sign language interpreter, who does her thing for artists like The Wu-Tang Clan, Bruce Springsteen, and U2, helping those who cannot hear music still enjoy the overall concert experience. What’s particularly cool is that she’s not simply delivering her interpretations standing there woodenly merely making hand gestures. She creates an energy of her own. Holly studies artists’ music and performances for many, many hours so that she can more accurately get across the mood and vibrance of the experience.

And of course, you can’t read up on a topic like this without stumbling across the usual ignorance (really, I don’t know why I even look at comments on web articles). Someone posted in response to an article about Maniatty asking why on earth a deaf person would go to a concert.

Someone else pointed out that of course disabled people go to events like concerts or visit places like museums — they just enjoy them in different ways than non-disabled people. And guess what? That’s okay if someone does the same activity as you but experiences it differently.

Even if you can’t hear music, you can still feel it and see the energy around you, on stage and in the crowd.

Kudos to people like Holly for enriching those experiences all the more. It seems like she’s getting some well-deserved attention for it.

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