Celebrating love through sign language
As a contribution to National Deaf Awareness Week - which runs from 24–30 September - acoustic folk-pop group Faultlines have released a new music video for their track Love Is All We Own.
Distributed through online streaming platform Revry, the video from Faultlines uses ASL - American Sign Language - to bring the lyrics of the song to life.
I caught up with Ashley Morgan and John Flanagan from Faultlines to talk about the new video.
Folk music is often a genre that reflects protest or movements for change — is that what drew you to folk music?
Harmony is what first drew us to folk music. Our advocacy came as a response to the current state of our world. Everybody has the ability to effect change, whether you march with the millions or have a deep heart-to-heart with a close friend or family member. As musicians, our natural reaction is to respond through music.
Why do you feel that music can be a powerful agent for change?
Music provides clarity to our own reality. When feelings cease to articulate our state of being, songs have the ability to commiserate and empathise with a particular emotion when the people in your life can’t necessarily articulate what you’re going through.
Who are some of your music heroes or inspirations?
Ashley: I grew up belting the power house divas — Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion.
John: Much of my writing and musicality is influenced by classic rock-stars and folk musicians of the 60s and 70s — The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and Queen.
How did you first connect with Libby Schmidt?
Libby and her family come to almost every Faultlines show. Her mother, Sarah, is a braille and language assistant in Orange County public schools. Libby often stands in the front row of our shows and signs along to all our songs. It’s beautiful! We have a very close community of amazing fans. It feels like a family.
Having learnt how to express Love Is All We Own using ASL, do you think that your music translates well into ASL?
We’re fortunate enough that many of our music video volunteers have a background in dance. One line in particular — “Baptized by the storm” — was captured so beautiful by our friend, Mimi. Doing ASL allows us to connect physically to the words of the song in a way we never have before.
Why was it important to you to contribute this video to National Deaf Awareness Week?
With ridiculous holidays like national ice-cream day, and national cat day, as advocates we like to use our music to bring awareness to something positive and real. It better connects us all as humans, as well as celebrating our diversity.
What do you hope that people feel when they listen to Love Is All We Own?
Acceptance. Our generation is emerging into greater debt than any generation before it. Yet our income will likely not exceed that of our parents. It’s easy to let the anxiety of this reality overwhelm you. But whether you’re a millionaire or a pauper, everything could be gone tomorrow and love is truly all we own.