Mercury Prize nominated Loyle Carner made his WOMAD debut last weekend (Friday 29 July) and crushed it. But the gig will be remembered for more than hits like The Isle of Arran and Florence, as he was joined by an unheralded co-star…his sign language interpreter Louise Tingay.
It was the first time the Lambeth born artist had performed with a signer and his unlikely hypewoman lit up his debut at the country’s biggest festival of global music with her incredible energy, illuminating his heartfelt, confessional lyrics with just her hands and dancemoves.
Louise said: “People had actually requested that Loyle’s WOMAD performance was interpreted and it was my absolute privilege to deliver the performance. WOMAD has some amazing artists and it’s great to be able to make those accessible for more people.”
“It was amazing, I was really nervous. He’s just been Mercury Prize-nominated and I knew it was going to be a big crowd but as soon as it started I just remembered that I’d done my homework, I knew his lyrics and I felt really confident and able to have fun!”
WOMAD has been offering sign language interpretation for over 15 years, and also offers braille interpretation for blind people, with a team of three experienced sign language interpreters performing roughly ten shows per day between them in response to audience requests.
WOMAD Festival Director Chris Smith said: “A huge part of WOMAD is inclusivity – everyone should be able to enjoy live music, and sign language interpreters play a massive role in making it a fuller, more memorable experience for deaf and hard of hearing people so it’s great to see artists like Loyle Carner getting involved.”
See more WOMAD coverage and get in early for next year’s tickets here.