Monday, 06 June 2022 10:25

In search of sound – musical laboratory for people with hearing deficits

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Last year, the specialized website “We Hear You” started out the first of a series of initiatives called “In search of sound”. The event to mark the start of it was the First Open lesson on Bulgarian folklore dances for people with hearing loss. This year, we’re seeing the follow-up of the initiative – a photo session of models with hearing deficits among classical and folklore musical instruments.


The idea behind "In search of sound" was born a few years ago and it’s based on the belief that music, rhythm and dances have a healing power. The knowledge that the frequency of the sound wave can influence matter is not new to humankind. So is the idea that folklore dances have a healing effect on certain organs and systems inside the human body. Music can be a natural activator of "sleeping" auditory nerves. It affects people differently but is effective both among people who have never heard a sound in their lives and hard-of-hearing people who use hearing aids.

It’s always worth trying. You need to try many things, you need to try anything. The key to every discovery lays in plenty of experiments carried out in the name of a big goal, an expected result that anybody can benefit from. Experimenting with sound, rhythm and melodies is the core of the initiative "In search of sound". The two phases of the initiative reveal its complex goals.

The first phase of the initiative was carried out in 2021 as "We Hear You" organized an Open lesson on Bulgarian folklore dances for people with hearing loss which was taught by professor d-r Anton Andonov, a renowned choreographer and specialist in Balkan folklore, teacher at the AMDFA – Plovdiv. The event was the first of its kind in Bulgaria and took place in a time of pandemic restrictions. The dances were a big success and the people involved eagerly expect the Second edition of the Open lesson.

The initiative accomplished its initial goal through the dance event – it showed the people of the deaf society that music can give them mental pleasure which they felt dancing and mastering folklore dances from various regions of Bulgaria. It also motivated them to look for the sound that is their own key to acoustic activation. It made them think that silence and music are not mutually exclusive.

The second phase of the initiative is carried out in cooperation with ethno photographer Assen Velikov, who volunteers to support the upcoming events. The following persons also take part in the photo session: Ivan Balabanov (supervisor of bagpipe band "Petko Voevoda"), Ivan Peychev (musician at the Bulgarian National Folklore Ensemble "Philip Kutev"), Hristiyan Tzvyatkov (guitarist in the Theodosii Spassov's folk quintet) as well as models with different kinds of hearing deficits shot in various national costumes at picturesque places throughout the country.

You could see Rhodope kaba bagpipe on 12 June 2022 in Koprivshtitsa. The photo session also includes kaval flute, gadulka, Balkan tambura and tapan drum. This is a beautiful and natural way for hard-of-hearing people, Deaf* people and people who have lost their hearing to personally sense the beauty of Bulgarian folklore as well as sense music through their touch of musical instruments while the latter are being played.

The shots and the videos will capture the unique exchange of silence and sound with the best photos printed on a calendar. Professional sign language interpretation will be provided for models with hearing deficits.

"In search of sound" is a musical experiment accessible to people with different kinds of hearing deficits. The circumstance that people with auditory impairment are not able to sense music through its natural auditory canal does not mean that they are not sensitive to music, rhythm, vibrations and sound frequencies.

Life is interesting when you try different sensory opportunities. If you’re missing hearing, then we have an interesting challenge for you – you could try what you could get out of a sensory stimulus through the rest of your senses. 

"We Hear You" does not guarantee you will get your hearing back. With its initiative "In search of sound", the Site’s team aims to stimulate and encourage the search of each person’s "own" sound, the mastering of rhythm, the achievement of inner harmony and embracing everybody’s opportunity to "listen" to their own silence and discover what there is inside it.

We invite all models with hearing loss who wish to participate in our music laboratory to join in the next photo sessions with flute, gadulka, Balkan tambura and tapan drum being played on the photos! We are expecting you!

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* Deaf – a cultural minority of people who use natural sign language and have agrammatical speech. The D in Deaf is their own choice of denotation and helps them distinguish from the rest of the groups of people with auditory deficits around the world as sign culture users.

"We Hear You" supports the right way to write down the names and define their own existence of various cultural groups of people with auditory deficits.

Article: Christina Tchoparova

Image: Zdravko Denev

EN translation by: Maria Mihailova

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