Signmark is a Finnish Deaf rapper who spreads his message over strong beats where hard, low frequencies and bass play a crucial part in his performance. These elements help him adapt to the rhythm, as he proves music is more than what you can hear. Rap went beyond music, lyrics, culture and languages, and has helped the signing community find their own voice. With his music and positive approach, Signmark wants to change attitudes towards Deaf people. He feels that society should treat Deaf people as a linguistic minority who have their own culture, community, history and heritage. Appreciating diversity is vital in today’s increasingly multicultural world.
Signmark was born deaf into a world where music is for the hearing. His career in music started with translating Christmas carols to sign language so the whole family could sing together. After watching music videos on MTV, he decided that one day his own videos would be on TV too. He fell for hip hop and rap music, both because of the beat and the possibility to talk about important issues through the music. His dreams about the music business were too much for some of his friends who said that it’s the most ridiculous dream a Deaf person can have and that music is only for hearing people.
Signmark ignored those who doubted him and kept pursuing his childhood dream. With the help of his friends and volunteers, he released the world’s first sign language hip hop DVD in 2006. At the release party MTV-News was filming in the front row. His second album Breaking the Rules was released by Warner Music and he became the first Deaf person in the world to get a record deal with an international music label.
Signmark was introduced to the mainstream audience and media when he was asked to join the national Eurovision Song Contest. The Finnish people gave their massive support to Signmark who came second in the national contest. Signmark has performed worldwide in over 50 countries. TV documentaries have been made about him in Germany, France and Hungary, among other places. The live shows are always bilingual, and the songs have been performed with International Sign Language and spoken English. His original work has not gone unnoticed: several contemporary cultural organizations have praised him, and he won The Outstanding Young Person of the World 2009 prize. Signmark is currently working on his third studio album and new material will be released later this year.
- Listen to the Audio Description introductory notes.
- Volunteers and Harbourfront Centre staff will be available to assist patrons with getting in and out of the theatre 30 minutes before and after the show and can provide sighted guide to patrons who require ‘Curb-to-Seat’ support.
- This performance will be presented in ASL and English.
- The show will be presented with live Audio Description. Audio Description equipment is limited and should be reserved in advance to avoid disappointment. Audio Description introductory notes will be given 10 minutes before the performance. Please arrive 20 minutes before showtime to pick up your receiver and earpiece.
- Headphone-based assistive hearing devices are available in the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Equipment is limited and should be reserved in advance.
- The Harbourfront Centre Theatre has wheelchair accessible seating. Please note: the ramp leading up to the HCT is 33” wide. The doorways to the single-stall washrooms in this building are 28.5” wide.
- If you require a wheelchair-accessible seat, audio description equipment, or Sighted Guide ‘Curb-to-Seat’ service, please contact the box office by email at email@example.com or call (416) 973-4000 and choose option 1.
- If you have questions about the access features offered for this event, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Katherine Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org. or (416) 973-4960
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