About the Author
Deborah Cowley was born in India, grew up in Toronto, Canada, graduated in English from the University of Western Ontario and moved to Ottawa for a job. She then spent two years with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Beirut, Lebanon before moving back to Ottawa to join the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Deborah is a writer and broadcaster. She has travelled the worldwide and written more than 100 articles for different editions of the Reader’s Digest, many of which have been translated into dozens of languages. She has been an on-air broadcaster for CBC radio in Washington, D.C., and worked for CBC television in London and Cairo, Egypt.
Evelyn Glennie Listens to Sound without Hearing It
“God may have taken her hearing but he has given her back something extraordinary. What we hear, she feels — far more deeply than any of us. That is why she expresses music so beautifully.”
This is an account of a girl who fought against her hearing disability and made her life a success story. Evelyn Glennie is a multi-percussionist. She can play about 1000 instruments with perfection. She listens to sound without hearing it. She is a source of inspiration for thousands of disabled persons.
(Percussionist: A person who plays musical instruments in which the sound is produced by striking them e.g. drums, cymbals etc.)
Evelyn Glennie was 11 years old when it was discovered that she was profoundly deaf. She wanted to pursue her career in music but her teachers discouraged her. It was Ron Forbes who recognized her talent & supported her in achieving her goal. He advised her not to listen through her ears but try to sense & feel it in some other way. Soon she was excited. She felt the vibrations of higher drum from the waist above & the lower drum from the waist down. Later she realized that she could feel the vibrations in every part of her body. She had learnt to open her body & mind to the sounds and vibrations. After that, she never looked back. She worked hard with strong determination and received many awards. Apart from the regular concerts, Evelyn gives free concerts in prisons & hospitals. She is an inspiration for deaf children. She has inspired those who are handicapped and made them believe that if she could do that, why not they.
The Shehnai Of Bismillah Khan
This lesson helps us to understand Indian classical musicians and instruments especially the origin of shehnai and Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan. Born on 21 March 1916, Bismillah belongs to a well-known family of musicians from Bihar. His grandfather was a shehnai-nawaz of the Bhojpur king’s court. Bismillah khan took to music early in life when he was 3 years old in the company of his maternal uncle. His life is a source of simplicity and communal harmony from the very beginning when he used to sing ‘ Chiata’ in Bihariji temple and practicing shehnai in Vishnu temple and Mangala Maiya temple of Varanasi. Bismillah khan got his big break with the opening of All India Radio in Lucknow in 1938. He also played shehnai on 15 August, 1947 from Red fort in presence of Pandit Nehru.
Bismillah khan gave many memorable performances both in India and abroad where he was honoured with so many awards. He also gave music in two movies ‘Gunj Uthi shehnai’ and ‘Sanadhi Apanna”. He was so fond of his motherland that he refused an offer to be the Head of Shehnai school in USA. In 2001, Ustad Bismillah khan was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.