Tasmin Kurien makes sign language covers of popular English songs

Tasmin Kurien is seen performing to the sound monitor ‘Pray For Me’ from The Black Panther in a single of her current movies on YouTube. As she spells out the lyrics in sign language, she additionally strikes her physique to the rhythm. “I have done four covers in sign language, one every week, in the last month,” says Tasmin, a post-graduate pupil of Social Work at Madras Christian College.

Her different covers are on ‘Iris’ by GooGoo Dolls coated by Breaking Benjamin and Diamante, ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen and ‘Alone (part II)’ by Alan Walker. “The Black Panther music took some time as a result of of the pace of the indicators. But, it was value it because it was an ideal tribute to Chadwick Boseman. Putting myself on the market as a solo performer in American Sign Language(ASL) was the scary half,” declares Tasmin, including that she gave it a shot to get rid of her worry of the display screen.

A current webinar at her faculty set her enthusiastic about sign language. “It was on human rights. One of the participants asked why there were no sign language interpreters to make it accessible to people with disabilities. When we started looking for interpreters for other webinars, we realised that Indian Sign Language (ISL) is different, for example a Tamil ISL is not the same as Hindi ISL. For national webinars we needed more than one interpreter and we couldn’t proceed with it.”

One sign, one music

When Tasmin signed up for a course in ASL, she recorded a music for each new sign she learnt. “It helped me sustain. When I learnt signs like ‘…Champions’ and ‘Alone’, I connected it with the songs though I didn’t know many other words. It was spontaneous.”

The movies, she says, are made in Pidgin Signed English (PSE), a mix of ASL and English. “I grew up in Singapore and have been here only for the last eight years. I know a little bit of Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil but not well enough to learn it in sign language and that’s why I chose English.”

At some level, Tasmin plans to make use of her abilities professionally. “I am especially keen on working with children who have intellectual disabilities. As of now, I want to continue to make music covers. It connects with people and is motivating.”

Tasmin can also be impressed by Amber Galloway Gallego’s movies, particularly her ASL cowl on Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’. “She is my idol. Gallego pulls out beats from the songs and shows them in signs which is amazing. Her entire body is attuned to the music. That’s what I am aspiring to do in future.”

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