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10 Times ASL Interpreters Rocked At Musical Access

People who are deaf can (and do) enjoy going to concerts! Talented professional musical interpreters ensure a lyrical connection between the performing artist and their fans who use ASL. Because music is for EVERYONE!

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1. The Grateful Deaf

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Deaf fans of The Grateful Dead, also known as “Deafheads,” have a history dating back to the 1980s when the band’s longtime sound man Dan Healy began working with fans to create “the deaf zone” at concerts. In the deaf zone — which offers close proximity to the stage and a team of sign language interpreters who understand the band’s sometimes abstract lyrics — fans can be seen dancing while holding balloons or paper cups to emphasize the vibrations.

2. Kendrick Lamar at Lollapalooza

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You may recall seeing this video when it went viral back in August 2013. Musical interpreter Amber Galloway Gallego offered an interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s “F*ckin Problems” that absolutely captivated deaf and hearing fans alike!

3. At this Sarah McLachlan Show

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The emotive nature of ASL lends itself perfectly to ballads, such as Sarah McLachlan’s iconic “I Will Remember You.” Interpreter Shelby Mitchusson expresses the depth and bittersweetness of this piece perfectly.

4. Kelly Rowland Live at Universal Studios

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It is important for a musical interpreter to not only portray the artist’s lyrics, but also some of their attitude. In this clip for the song “Street Life,” interpreter Molly Bartholomew stays true to Rowland’s confidence and persona.

5. Counting Crows at Wolf Trap 2012

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When music is lyrically driven, like many Counting Crows songs, interpreters must really feel the message of the song and work to convey that to audiences. In this clip for the song “Recovering Satellites,” the ASL interpreter takes fans on a gentle tumble from the sky, as described by band's lead singer.

6. Phish's Festival 8

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Concerts are about more than just the music, they offer a whole experience! Interpreters are able to capture that special energy and vibe when they are genuinely sharing in the groove with fans who use ASL.

7. Carrie Underwood at the Concert for Valor 2014

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This video of Jacklyn O’Brien interpreting “Before He Cheats” shows how when an interpreter is truly feeling the performing artist’s message, it shines through in their work.

8. Disneyland

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By offering ASL interpreted performances, Disneyland welcomes children who are deaf and their families to enjoy the same caliber of experience as other patrons. These moments help to create memories that families cherish.

9. Rosie and the Ramblers at South by Southwest 2013

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The expressive emotionality of ASL matches perfectly with Hank Williams country ballad “So Lonesome I Could Cry,” interpreted by Barbie Parker.

10. Henry Butler Inclusive By Design Concert

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This is an incredible example of an inclusive concert experience! Piano legend Henry Butler, who has been blind since birth, works with a live visual artist and creative team which includes deaf and hearing ASL interpreters, live captioning, and audio description. Let’s see more of THIS please!

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