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DJ Troi Lee’s workshops for deaf DJs

deaf DJ
DJ Troi Lee from DeafRave offers DJ Workshops in the UK for deaf DJs. DeafRave also runs inclusive events, festivals, and parties.

Troi Lee Deaf DJ, DeafRave

Becoming a Deaf DJ

Troi Lee is a Deaf DJ who has been in the business for 25 years. He first started listening to music when he got his first Sony Walkman cassette player. He remembers putting the headphones on his hearing aids and switching to the loop setting.

I was listening to Public Enemy – hip hop – and kept playing again over and over.,” he recalls. “That [is] when I first embraced music with hearing aids. Without them, I don’t think I [would] be [a] DJ!”

Lee started DJing with vinyl records. Now that laptops and DJ software have come along, it’s easier for him to mix his sets.

Read more: Listening to music with hearing aids

Lee’s Vision

Founder Troi “DJ Chinaman” Lee began with a vision to give deaf, hearing, and disabled artists and performers a platform to display their love for music. DeafRave provides entertainment with music, sign song, deaf DJs, and visual performances. Their aim is to unite everyone through the love and passion for music. They promote Deaf/disabled identity and teach people about Deaf Culture.

DeafRave first came onto the scene in 2003 with a smash-hit, sell-out event. It was DeafRave’s first deaf party. Around 700 people attended; 200 of them were from abroad. Things were very different back then. DeafRave is versatile and more than capable of moving with the times. Lee and his friends were initially restricted to meeting once a month in the pub with other members of the Deaf community. The problem was that the pub closed at midnight. They kept being moved on to other pubs each month.

“I was a raver at the time going to hearing parties, and I would party until 7 or 8 am,” Lee says. “Those were in the glorious rave era. I kept asking the Deaf community to go partying after Deaf Pub, but they said, ‘No, it not for us as it hearing culture.’ From there, I knew I had to set one up myself in order for them to experience what an actual rave is. That first party was a game-changer.”

Not Stopped by COVID

Lee launched DeafRave with a few Deaf DJs and a mini showcase of Deaf performers. DeafRave has continued its work in the music and raving industry ever since. Even COVID-19 didn’t hold them back for long. 2020 was the year of DeafRave’s first festival. Sure, it ended up having to be online, but it shows the sheer resilience and success of DeafRave.

Lee says the festival enabled him to work with Deaf talent from all over the world. DeafRave Festival 2021 had a minute of live and online streaming simultaneously. Lee says this was a very technical challenge, but they were successful. It’s all about adjusting and evolving with technology.

Read more: Meet deaf RnB singer James Vickery

DeafRave’s Services

DeafRave has a plethora of services, including organizing events and festivals and putting on event workshops. The workshops include basic sign language and deaf awareness. Other services include:

  • Basic sign language/deaf awareness workshop
  • Talks about DeafRave
  • DJ hire
  • Workshops using Woojer (Woojer vests and straps enable the wearer to feel bass tones and beat.)

DJ Workshops for Deaf DJs

Lee and DeafRave have recently launched the first all-female deaf DJ workshop, which has gone viral. It also has at least one Deafblind participant. Lee calls this another milestone achievement, as DeafRave has broken down many barriers and made history over the years. He describes the DJ and VJ workshops as a way for beginners to get a taste of the industry. He plans to do more in the future.

Deaf DJ workshop“DeafRave is about creating a platform and giving opportunities for those Deaf talents to come and show what you can do,” Lee says.

“DeafRave is about creating a platform and giving opportunities for those Deaf talents to come and show what you can do.”

Deaf DJ Troi’s Picks

Here are Lee’s top singsong and sign language rappers:

  • Ruth Montgomery – Professional musician (Flute)
  • MC Geezer (UK) – Sign Song Rapper and Music producer
  • WAWA (|USA) – Sign Song Rapper and Music producer
  • Beautiful the Artist (USA) – Sign Song Rapper
  • Rebecca Anne-Withey (UK) – Sign Song performer
  • Shaheem Sanchez (USA) – Dancer
Author Details
Mel is a hard-of-hearing writer from the UK. She has moderate-severe hearing loss by American definitions and moderate hearing loss by British measurements. She relies on hearing aids and lipreading. She lives in Wales with her French Bulldog puppy and mischievous tortoiseshell cat. Mel identifies as a demisexual lesbian.