A glimpse into disability music history

I just came across something very interesting indeed on my friend Mark Rowland’s facebook page. Mark was an old friend of Lyn’s from long before I met her. He’s a musician who participated in the Drake Music Project, which twenty one years ago appeared on the Jools Holland show as part of the Edinburgh Festival. As you can see, the video is a quite fascinating insight into disability music at that time; Adele Drake’s project was quite groundbreaking in finding ways for musicians with disabilities to make music. This short film, in a way, shows the very beginnings of a revolution which would eventually lead to things like the British Paraorchestra.

On Facebook Mark writes, ”I think that this concert showed true diversity of true musicianship with disabilities and able-bodied playing on a stage. I have not seen that since really. I think that is sad…” It is certainly true that concerts like this gave the wider audiences their first glimpses of what guys like Mark and Lyn are capable of; yet, rather than being a one-off, this concert was the beginning of something incredible. It may have been the first time musicians with disabilities were showcased on national TV, vintage computers and all, but things like this open doors to bigger, grander things (check this out for one). Thus I think this is a pretty awesome glimpse into the history of disability music.

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