JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
•• stay up-to-date with our programs, stories and music.
JOIN
 Please wait...
Thank you!
Support young community music leaders in their work with thousands of children in Rwanda. Donate today »
DONATE
WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
January 19, 2013 •• Palestine Community Music
Deaf Drumming!
“But they are deaf!”
Yes, they are. But deaf people can drum too!Today was the first Samba percussion training for deaf people from the Bethlehem district. To make things more complicated, we have

  • an English-speaking Samba trainer: translation English – Arabic needed;
  • deaf participants that understand Palestinian sign language: interpreting Arabic – sign language needed;
  • a deaf participant that understands lip-reading: translation Arabic – lip reading & facial expression needed.
Soon we all got used to this three way translation and we could focus on the music. Our amazing Samba volunteer trainer Mark Rietema started with a warm-up in which every person had to share his name in sign language and express in a movement how his or her morning was. Deaf people give people two names: one name that can be spelled (for example M-a-r-k) and one name that is chosen by deaf people and expressed with a movement (for example ‘combing’ Mark’s hair in the front). During this warm-up, we found out that Mark had been in a hurry in the morning, Amineh had fed her rabbits, and poor Abdullah had left his house at 8.00 o’clock, arrived at 8.30 at the meeting point, and waited until 10.00 for the Samba training to begin.
After some clapping and rhythm exercises it was time to take the drums. Mark taught them some basic rhythms, a stop sign and a break sign. Any visitor to this workshop would never have guessed that these youth are deaf: they are amazingly talented and they were playing together as any other beginners group with people that do hear.
Halimah playing the Caixa
Khaled playing the Surdo
Amineh playing the Repenique
Magedah playing the Repenique
Mark shows the girls a new rhythm
The Surdo’s keep the beat
At the end, during the evaluation of the workshop, the mother of one of the participants expressed her wishes for this training:

my son is very shy and sometimes people don’t treat him well because he is deaf. I want him to become more secure and less shy. Today I saw that he was very happy to play the drums, and when he is happy I’m happy. I hope that drumming will make him believe in himself!”

Thank you Mark for your great work, thank you Magedah for your sign-language interpreting, and thank you Im Khaled for translating lip-reading to your son. Thank you Habshe for taking the pictures and arranging us the space in Aida Youth Center. Amineh, Halimah, Magedah, Abdullah and Khaled: you rock!