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Deaf artists share focus as Raine Hamilton performs in CBC's Studio 11

A live studio audience watched with rapt attention as local musician Raine Hamilton performed throughout CBC's Up To Speed Friday afternoon.

During live Up To Speed show, Hamilton and co-creators shared stories and music

Raine Hamilton performs on CBC's Up To Speed Friday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

A live studio audience watched with rapt attention as local musician Raine Hamilton performed throughout CBC's Up To Speed Friday afternoon. 

Hamilton is releasing her second album, Night Sky, on March 23 and celebrating with a show the next day at the West End Cultural Centre.

The Winnipeg singer/violinist/guitarist played songs throughout the afternoon's broadcast, including Robin Hood, "the story of ... just having one foot in that earthly world, and one foot in that calling to be the selfless hero," as she put it. 

A live studio audience came down to the CBC Friday to see Raine Hamilton, a local string trio, for their performance on Up To Speed. 3:12

Hamilton announced her calling as a musician to her parents at age three (when she first saw stringed instruments on Sesame Street), and has been hard at work at it ever since. 

​"Art is for everyone," said Hamilton, who teaches songwriting and violin in schools. "I have seen music be a really empowering tool for those students. I've seen them be able to connect with parts of themselves that are so important and so beautiful."

Augmenting the music, Winnipeg artist Joanna Hawkins acted as an American Sign Language interpreter for the show.  

She will be the shadow interpreter at the album release show as well. 

Hawkins, who is herself deaf, says she works with the music and the beat to represent the symbolism of the songs in ASL, citing an example of a bird motif in one of Hamilton's songs. 

You can look at the deeper meaning. For us it can become very visual. Very much include the entire body.- Deaf poetry performer Jordan Sangalang

"We understand if somebody is on the strings what kind of instrument they are playing, but how does that make the audience feel?" Hawkins told Up To Speed through an interpreter. "More show them how that is representing the symbolism of the bird in the song or whatever, and put those together for the audience." 

Jordan Sangalang will perform deaf poetry at Hamilton's album release show.

"We'll be talking about connections and relationships and basically hoping to deal with access through art with the poem itself — because poetry is artistic — and talking about human connectedness," Sangalang told Up To Speed through an interpreter. 

Just as there are plays on words in written and spoken poetry, Sangalang said deaf poetry incorporates plays on signs. 

"You can look at the deeper meaning. For us it can become very visual. Very much include the entire body," he said. "And for myself with my poetry, I think I show that, I act that, it includes the experience, it's very visceral."
Hamilton was joined by John Mark Beren on bass and Natanielle Felicitas on cello. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Hamilton said other accessibility measures at the show will include gender-inclusive washrooms and wheelchair accessibility.

And a sing-along component — no pressure, though. 

"I feel like I belong to a community, and I want to participate," Hamilton said. "And I want to make art available to everyone." 

Some tickets will also be available for people who couldn't afford to pay, through Hamilton's website.

Hamilton was joined by John Mark Beren on bass and Natanielle Felicitas on cello.