Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘singing and stuttering

I had the amazing opportunity on Saturday to attend a performance of “Kirtan,” an ancient storytelling vehicle from Sanskrit India. My friend Maddy, who stutters too, is in a band called The Turn-Ups and it’s been a dream of hers to perform this live for audiences.

She invited me to come along to only her second performance and I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. I am not spiritual and was not sure I’d like this. But I have been trying lately to be much more open to new experiences as I think we all should be.

Well, I was stunned and mesmerized and awestruck by the beauty of what unfolded before my eyes and ears. I had looked up “Kirtan” so I’d have a basic understanding of what I would see. Boy, was I unprepared. It was simply a visual and audio feast.

What I saw was beauty, purity of voice, passion and full on spiritual expression. It really is true: you don’t stutter when you sing and Maddy was brilliant when she sang for the transfixed audience. She is beautiful in her attention to detail and humility. She needs to do this again and again and help audiences see how gifted she is and that we all should look beyond a stutter and see and hear the gift of a golden voice.

Here are two quick snippets from my day on Saturday September 1. Maddy and her band played to an enthusiastic crowd that cheered her on and didn’t care when it ran over the allotted time.

 

After the performance, a group of us went to dinner and shared the pleasure of the evening. These were Maddy’s friends and I felt welcomed and embraced into their circle.

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PamEpisode 186 features Maddy Bognar, who hails from Woodstock, New York. Maddy is an occupational therapy student and also a member of a band called the Turn-Ups. She has recently taken a leap to commit to booking two performance shows featuring Kirtan, which is a call and response chant style originating from the Bhakti Yoga tradition in India and is done traditionally in Sanskrit.

Kirtan first caught Maddy’s attention in 2016 when she attended an arts festival, called the O+ Festival, which is really cool to learn about itself. O+ artists and musicians receive health and wellness care in an Artists’ Clinic staffed by volunteer providers and in local dentist offices as a thank you for their creative gifts. O+ calls this exchange: the art of medicine for the medicine of art. I love that!

Kirtan allows Maddy to find peace and a sense of calm, which she then shares with audience members, who participate because Kirtan is also interactive. And Kirtan  means “storytelling” which is so cool because that’s exactly what we do on this podcast, share our stories.

In our conversation, we share how we met a few months ago when we both attended a performance by a stand-up comedian who stutters and wound up sharing that we both stutter and went to dinner together.

Podcast note: I tried as hard as I could in this episode to remove the annoying echo, but just didn’t succeed. Sorry, after all these years, I’m still an amateur.

The music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

Well, Lazaro Arabos made it through another round on American Idol this week. In fact, voters put him in the top three this week.

This came as a surprise, since Lazaro forgot some lyrics in his duet performance this week, just like he did in last week’s performance. And Jimmy Iovine, the show’s mentor, had predicted that Lazaro should be in the bottom two or voted off the show.

The judges thought Lazaro’s solo performance of “We Are The Champions” was a perfect song choice for him, as the song signals that Lazaro is a champion after defying the odds to sing so well despite his severe stutter.

But many critics are saying that Lazaro is getting through when he should not, and at the expense of much better singers.

Do you think Lazaro is getting the sympathy vote? Do you think people are voting for him just because he stutters? To make a statement that finally, someone with a disability, can get this far?

I have been following the show every week this year. As a person who stutters myself, I greatly admire what Lazaro is doing. He is a great singer, but clearly struggles with interviews. But he does them anyway. He’s a great role model in that regard.

But I don’t think he is the better singer over some that have been eliminated since the top 10 was established.

If you are a person who stutters, are you rooting for Lazaro just because he stutters? Do you think he deserves to have made it this far? If you don’t stutter, what do you think?

It’s known that most people who stutter don’t stutter when they sing. The brain uses different areas for speech production and singing.

So it was a bit offensive when judges on American Idol told a young man who stutters after singing beautifully during his audition that he should just sing all of the time. Can you imagine singing all the time in everyday communication? Talk about weird and drawing attention to yourself.

Part of that comment was ignorance. The American Idol judges likely haven’t encountered many people who stutter and understandably may not have known how to react. Another judge also finished the contestant’s words before he finished explaining what song he was going to sing. Most people who stutter, including myself, don’t like having their words finished for them.

The stuttering community is all abuzz because we have someone who stutters on national television competing in the popular singing competition. He is “representing!”

The non-stuttering community is all abuzz because he doesn’t stutter when singing and it’s thought to be so amazing.

I think the most important thing here, as shown below, is that Lazaro is stuttering openly and confidently while he pursues his dream. His confidence is what we should focus on, not that he can sing with out stuttering, like most of us can do.

Hopefully, Lazaro will go a long way in the competition so that the American Idol judges, and all the people watching, can learn more about differences. Listen to what he says in addition to how beautifully he sings.


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.
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