Signmark Raps Lyrics Through Sign Language
Signmark was born deaf into a world where music is for the hearing. He pursued his childhood dream and became the first deaf in the world to get a record deal. Signmark (a.k.a. Marko Vuoriheimo) started spreading his message over strong beats where hard, low frequencies and bass are playing a crucial part in his performance. These elements help him adapt to the rhythm as he proves; music is more than what you can hear!
Also hip-hop culture has the tradition of stretching boundaries of art, culture, politics, and society. Rap goes beyond music, lyrics, culture and languages and helped the signing community to find their own voice.
With the help from his friends and a large group of volunteers, Signmark released the world’s first sign language hip-hop DVD in 2006. The album “Signmark” takes a stand for equality and aims to bring people together. The debut broke prejudices and awakened people.
Signmark was introduced to the mainstream audience and media when he was asked to join the national Eurovision Song Contest. The Finnish people gave their massive support to Signmark who came second in the contest. Due to his success, a record deal with Warner Music followed. He is the world’s first deaf ever to be signed to international major label.
A hip-hop artist Brandon who is his voice for the hearing audience supports Signmark’s albums, videos and performances. The live shows are always bilingual. The songs are performed with American Sign Language and spoken English. Signmark has gained international interest by touring in several countries, including Japan, U.S.A., Iceland, Spain, Ethiopia and Namibia. Signmark’s unique and original work has not been unnoticed; several contemporary cultural organizations have praised him and e.g. he won The Outstanding Young Person of the World 2009 prize.
With his music and positive approach Signmark wants to change attitudes towards the Deaf. Signmark feels that the society should not treat the Deaf as handicapped people, but as a linguistic minority with their own culture, community, history and heritage.
In September 2009, Signmark released his first single and video “Smells Like Victory” from his upcoming second album, which will be released in early 2010. The record will include signed videos for each song on the album.
Signmark’s career as an artist started with translating Christmas carols to sign language so the whole family could sing together. He wanted to bring his hearing grand parents and deaf parents together through music. Signmark says him self about the upcoming album: ” There’s still a lot of people that need to come together like my family did.”
In 2009, Signmark became the first deaf rapper ever to land a record contract. Even though Signmark can’t hear the music, he literally feels the beat; his fans can feel it too. [Read more from CBS Evening News with Katie Couric]
You can download the music through iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/breaking-the-rules/id366399433