Half/Asian and Amy the CODA will perform in Dawson Creek for the first time next Tuesday, August 24, and will be joining up with the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre for a special inclusive event for the hearing and visually impaired. Half/Asian, whose name is Ian Griffiths, is a mixed raced musician who sings and plays the group's songs on 80's synthesizers, while Amy Braun, a child of deaf adult (CODA) sings the lyrics in Pidgin Signed English (PSE), her mother's language.
"I don't know any other groups in Canada like this. We have the musical aspect, along with the meaning of our lyrics and the songs themselves, while Amy performs her interpretation of the lyrics through sign language. For Amy, her mom is deaf, and she has a deaf uncle, so this has been a part of her culture and this is her first foray into using her heritage and culture to express herself," Griffiths said.
The band is currently on their first full tour, playing 20 shows in 40 days, even though they formed two years ago, right before Covid-19 first hit.
"So far people have been pretty surprised, it's been a big hit for kids, people are really enjoying Amy's performance and it's going great so far," Griffiths said.
However, the performance at the KPAC won't be a typical concert. After Half/Asian and Amy the CODA perform, the film "Wonder" will be played, with closed captioning and audio descriptive headsets available for those who require it.
"This will be our first time using our new audio descriptive equipment. There's a need for it in town, and we thought it was a great fit for what we're trying to do, holding events that are inclusive for everyone," said Kurtis Nguyen, KPAC's theatre coordinator.
Griffiths was excited by the idea when he first head about it.
"I was so excited when I found out they’d be doing a movie afterward with audio description and closed captioning. As hearing people, we know there is much more than just hearing the music, there's the energy you get from group, the sights you see. People of all types, especially those with disabilities, are ready to get out and be with their community again and we're excited to be a part of it," he said.
Griffiths said he and Braun will arrive in Dawson Creek a couple days before the show, as Braun's grandparents had a farm in the area and they are eager to try and find it and see what they can find at the local museums. They are performing in Rolla during their South Peace stop as well.
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org