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Touch the Sound

New York Premiere

U.K., Germany | 99 MINUTES | English |


Evelyn Glennie was just an eight-year-old Scottish lass with a knack for music when she began to go deaf. By age 11, she needed a hearing aid, and doctors told her father she'd never be able to pursue her beloved music. Touch the Sound, a documentary brilliantly directed and edited by Thomas Riedelsheimer, demonstrates just how wrong those doctors were. Glennie grew up to be a Grammy®-winning percussionist, and the documentary follows her from New York to England to Tokyo to an abandoned factory in Germany where she records an improvised CD with fellow musician Fred Frith. Everywhere she makes music, using everything from drums to a xylophone to chopsticks and stiletto heels. Making music obviously transports Glennie, who plays with fierce concentration and an expression of childish delight. With a supportive father and sensitive teachers, as a child Glennie dispensed with the hearing aids and began to touch the sound, quite literally. "Hearing is a form of touching," the profoundly deaf musician says in her lilting Scottish burr, recounting how she learned to use the body as "some kind of resonating chamber" to detect "minute differences" in the vibrations she felt. Pondering the sound of silence in a Japanese rock garden, Glennie opines that the opposite of sound is definitely not silence; it's the closest thing she can imagine to death.