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Why sign language music videos are becoming more common

Sign language is a full body language, from the facial expressions to the movements of the hands and arms, making it the perfect language to portray emotional messages such as song lyrics.

Recently, we’ve seen more and more artists coming out with official music videos in sign language. These videos both increase accessibility to those who are hard of hearing, as well as display the beauty of the language.

Future Islands, an American synthpop band, is the latest to release a music video in sign language. Their new single, “Cave,” is signed by Jonathan Lamberton, who gained internet fame after interpreting for Mayor Bill de Blasio during storm coverage in 2015. 

“Lamberton’s expressiveness grounds the cerebral pop song,” says Rolling Stone Magazine. “In the lyric video, he’s a fitting placeholder for Herring’s trademark hyper-emotive dancing.”

“Lamberton’s expressiveness grounds the cerebral pop song”

These sign language performances have gained attention among the public largely due to the facial expressions of interpreters. While their expressions sometimes seem exaggerated, emotional presentations are necessary for Deaf people to determine the mood of the conversation or topic. Expressions also bring character to the language. 

Read more: Why I’m learning sign language as an “oral” profoundly deafie

If you’d like to watch more, Deaf filmmaker Jules Dameron, who advocates for accessibility in entertainment and hiring deaf talent, has created this great YouTube playlist of music videos in sign language:

What’s your favorite sign language music video? Let us know in the comments!

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Author Details
Jill von Bueren is the editor-in-chief of HearingLikeMe.com. Originally from the U.S., she now resides in Zurich, Switzerland. She has a background in journalism and is currently working on her second novel.
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Jill von Bueren is the editor-in-chief of HearingLikeMe.com. Originally from the U.S., she now resides in Zurich, Switzerland. She has a background in journalism and is currently working on her second novel.