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July 29, 2003

Deaf maestro plays down on the farm

From: East Anglian Daily Times, UK - Jul 29, 2003

A DEAF percussionist awarded Grammys, an OBE and global acclaim for her work with the world's top orchestras visited an Essex farm - and played a fertilizer tank.

Evelyn Glennie, who was brought up on an Aberdeen farm, took a trip down memory lane as she walked round Maydays Farm, Mersea Island, choosing ploughs, anvils, oil drums and other agricultural instruments in her quest for new sounds.

Music producer Andrew Sunnucks, whose brother owns Maydays, joked because the team did not have copyright to Old MacDonald's Farm, they had to search out more unusual music to compile an album for use in film and television scores.

He said: "She is just amazing. She just picks things out. The echo on the fertilizer tank lasted about 15 seconds – it's going to make a great effect for a sci-fi film.

"She believes that everything is potentially a musical instrument and you can do great things from even the most mundane objects.

Awarded an OBE at the age of 27 in 1993, Ms Glennie is recognised as one of the world's top and most demanded international concert soloists and has played with most of the major conductors and orchestras.

Robbed of her hearing by a mystery illness, Ms Glennie has been profoundly deaf to the spoken word since she was young, but "hears" musical sound using a combination of sight and feeling, watching and sensing the vibrations of a drum for example.

She has won two Grammys and was co-writer of the hit song My Spine with Björk and has established a reputation as a composer for film and television having written the score for the BBC's See Hear! and ITV's BAFTA-nominated drama Trial and Retribution.

She said was enjoying trying to find the natural musical resonance in farm machinery.

She said: "This is the first step in a new project before we move on to other different types of locations like hospitals and oil rigs.

"It's not my job to invent the sound - because the sound is already there - but to explore sounds that we haven't thought about before."

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