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TX: 15.09.03 – DANCE MUSIC FAN RUNS RAVES FOR DEAF PEOPLE
PRESENTER: JOHN WAITE


WAITE
Here's something you probably won't do in future - going out to a club Winifred or a rave.

ROBINSON
That's rather ageist of you.

WAITE
Well yes, well I'm including myself in it. But it is a way of life for thousands of young people every week with venues like Gatecrasher in Sheffield and the Ministry of Sound in London making millions of pounds and attracting dancers from all across the country. Until now though that's a fashion which has generally excluded the hard of hearing but a dance music fan with a serious hearing impairment has begun running commercial raves specially for people who are deaf.

Kate Linderholm has been talking to promoter, DJ Troi Lee, about his first big deaf rave party.

LEE
Thousands just turn up out of nowhere and I just don't really know where they're all coming from, it's just a great response.

LINDERHOLM
The first thing you notice in Troi Lee's flat at Hackney in East London is the record collection - row after row of CDs and shiny silver boxes full of old fashioned 12 inch vinyl. The living room is dominated by two turntables, a mixer and big speakers. Like any DJ Troi has a passion bordering on the obsessive for his tunes.

LEE
Okay, I'm going to find one of my favourite tracks which is an American US house, it's a song called Follow Me.

MUSIC

Just like the beat, it just gets you in the mood and it's a very nice groove.

LINDERHOLM
Troi has been profoundly deaf since birth and although that doesn't mean he lives in silence it's hard for him to register the full range of frequencies in speech and music. But when he started going out clubbing as a teenager with friends who could hear he discovered he loved the atmosphere at the gatherings, the way he could feel the vibrations in the big heavy beats behind rap, reggae and dance music. And he DJs by cranking up the sound loud enough to feel.

LEE
What I enjoy most about DJing is to watch the crowd - everyone's in a jiggy mood, everyone's swaying one side - that's the great thing about being a DJ, is to play all the music that you enjoy and fortunately the music I play is a lot of bassy sounds, so I know it's a very effective kind of music for my own community.

LINDERHOLM
So how does he hear what he's playing? Well the chances are he actually feels a lot of the music. Adam Beckman, an audiologist at the RNID, says there's a crossover between hearing sound and feeling vibration.

BECKMAN
When there are low frequency loud vibrations we can all feel that, so if a large lorry drives down the street you can feel that in your chest, that's a different sense organ that's detecting that vibration and the signal would therefore probably be going to a different part of the brain but you would still perceive it as a vibration. But that's when we talk about sounds being so loud you can feel them.

LINDERHOLM
Troi and his friends got fed up with the narrow confines of the deaf social scene and wanted to gather together a big crowd.

MUSIC

LEE
The normal meeting - they meet up in the week or weekends in a local pub or a club, you're talking maybe 50 people, 100 people, 200 people, it's a very rare sight we see 1,000 deaf people in one place and all walks of life involved in the deaf community.

MUSIC

LINDERHOLM
Earlier this year Troi set up the deaf rave website which started taking hits from all over Europe. People travelled to last month's rave from Spain, Italy, Finland and Germany - it was sold out weeks beforehand and dancers were turned away on the night. The venue had wooden floors and powerful speakers placed on the ground to maximise the vibrations.

MUSIC

Clubber Helen Cray loved it.

CRAY
I love them, I'm a fantastic dancer, we sense the vibration much better than hearing people, we know there's something there. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one.

LEE
We can try and improve sound quality for the future. Sooner or later, if we can get some better sound quality service or a super club like Ministry of Sound, for example, or Fabrics, one of the greatest sound system there is in the UK, we want to feel that.

MUSIC

LINDERHOLM
A fortnight after the Deaf Rave those who went are still talking about it at the pub. As Troi walks to the bar strangers are slapping him on the back and telling him in sign language what a brilliant night they had, there's clearly an appetite for music among young deaf people.

MUSIC

VOX POPS
[indistinct words] … my mum used to play reggae and I could feel the vibration, the very strong vibration.

MUSIC

I always grew up with music until I was 19, I had a hearing loss but I mean I turned round and said to myself look I'm not going to give up my music. The music that I had before I had my hearing loss I understand that more than the ones that I buy now. With some of the songs I can sing the whole record because I remember it well, yeah. Some of the new ones not so much.

MUSIC

LINDERHOLM
Although he barely broke even on the Deaf Rave event Troi Lee is determined to keep building the clubbing scene. The next party is likely to be at Christmas or New Year but for now Troi is cherishing his memories of a good night out.

LEE
It was sort of like back in the days when I was going out raving, you're in the queue yourself and you're waiting to go inside a club and you're looking really, really forward and happy and bubbly to get inside there and have a good time. It was a completely different feeling, a completely unbelievable buzz and it was an experience I will never forget.

MUSIC

WAITE
That was Troi Lee talking to Kate Linderholm.



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