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This is Amber Galloway Gallego, she's
interpreting a song for you in
traditional American Sign Language. Now
here's the same song but it's in a
specialized version of American Sign
Language just for music. You might
actually recognize this riff it's from
"Don't Wanna Fight" by Alabama Shakes. So
which one connects you more with the
music? Hi I'm Amber Galloway Gallego. She's
interpreted concerts in ASL for
literally every artist view you could think of.
Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Drake. I think it's
up to 400 a little bit over 400 now.
Amber is a part of a growing number of
ASL interpreters that work to translate a hearing centric music world into a
visual one. I want to introduce you to
three very talented women please welcome
Holly Maniatty. That's Holly.
and Jo Rose Benfield and Amber Galloway Gallego each of these
women is a nationally certified sign
language interpreter and even more
importantly they have fun with it. ASL,
American Sign Language is fairly new it
was only technically like really
approved in the early 1960s saying yes
it's an official language. It has its own
rules for grammar and syntax and there
are five parameters that everyone has to
follow. The first is hand shape. Now this
is a sign for mom and this is a sign
for dad. The hand shape in both cases has
to look like this. You have palm
orientation, so your palm can't be facing
down or up. And then there's location. The
hand has to be placed on the chin for
mom and the forehead for dad. And then
you have movement. The fingers have to
wiggle or they can bounce. And finally
there are the nonmanual markers. These
nonmanual markers are vital in
conveying instrumental sounds. That's
going to be the expression here, but also
the expression that happens on your body
right like usually it's like mom but
it's like mah, dah.
The deaf community is made up of a
diverse group of people who have a wide
range of residual hearing. Some might be
able to hear lower frequencies like
drums or bass but not higher frequencies
like vocals or guitars. And of course,
everyone can feel the vibrations of
music especially at live events. So what
the interpreters have done for many
years is they've ignored the sounds and
solely focused on the English. So this is a
sign for music right like this can you see it?
So you'll hear music and this is what the
interpret does
"music"
and that's all they
do and that's what they have been doing
for years and years and years. So here's how
Amber solved this problem. I thought about
basses and how thick they sound right?
00:03:04,190 --> 00:03:06,840
And when there's a fat person they'll be

like this like they'll show a person
like this but they do this. You have to do
this to show thickness and density
right so you'll see my lower sounds are
lower put here and then my higher sounds
go up and you'll see my facials move to that
so I'm like wow like the wow wow
wow so you'll see that bow wow and then
I show this to show the waviness. There's
actually footage of her doing this exact
thing on stage with the Red Hot Chili
Peppers
if we merely show the sign for music
then we are doing an injustice as an
interpreter.
So after listening to the
beat and how their their tonality is and
all the instruments then what I do is I
break it down from English to ASL. So
rhyming, metaphor, and wordplay are an
intrinsic part of lyrical music
especially hip-hop so how do you
translate that to a visual form of
communication? Let's look at Eminem's "The
Monster" featuring Rihanna. Ok where he
says "in the draft turn nothing into
something still can make that straw into
gold chump I will spin Rumpelstiltskin
in a haystack" Rumpelstiltskin is the
fairy tale about straw turning into gold.
So that part is where I take it and I
take it the rhymes out of my pocket and
I write and then I show it like that
like it's like I'm expressing it that's
how you like express and then I show it
become a gold record and then I say "poom"
where he says "chump" where it's like "I beat
you." Of course this all has to happen at
the rate in which Eminem raps.
"It's payback Russell Wilson
Falling way back in the draft
Turn nothing into something
still can make that,
straw into gold chump,
I will spin Rumpelstiltskin in a haystack.
You can also combine two
signs in ASL to convey wordplay. Amber
did this with Future's "F*ck Ups Some
Commas"
Fuck up some commas let's fuck up some commas.
Let's fuck up some commas
This is a sign for like commas like
showing the number but I did it with the
"fuck up" with "fuck" so i did that.
So you might not be able to rhyme in ASL but
you can certainly get the cleverness
across. You have to truncate your signs
to be able to keep up with the beat to
make sure it's looking like rap. Since
the enactment of the Americans with
Disabilities Act in 1990 concert venues
have been required to provide
interpreters for deaf attendees.
When asking to get
services that is the biggest
barrier that we have in the world today.
It's vitally important that concert
venues hire interpreters who understand
the emotional power of music. Like for
example like the national anthem like if
you were to interpret Whitney Houston's
is going to be drastically different
than like Barbra Streisand's right? And
we can't just say I'm standardizing the
sign and this is what I'm going to
always sign. Like for the sign "brave"
right you do "brave" and I'll see some
people just go through the motions of
the actual signs and then they'll do
"brave" and Whitney Houston still singing
you know going through her long-ass
"brave."
That's the whole reason to go to music
events is to be a part of this experience
and forget about the rest of the world
and be there in that moment and so many
times deaf people are not allowed that
experience because we as hearing people
choose to say no
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How sign language innovators are bringing music to the deaf

291 Folder Collection
Samuel published on May 18, 2018
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