Watching intently and eagerly taking notes in the audience during a panel discussion, one would not be able to tell just from observing if Marko Vuoriheimo, Signmark, was a person with a disability or someone who did not face any challenges.
Vuoriheimo, known as Signmark globally, is a Finnish deaf hip-hop artist, whom through the Embassy of Finland performed in Nairobi on Friday, bringing inspiration to not only to the local deaf community but also to all Kenyans with disabilities.
A lengthy and candid panel discussion between government officials and other stakeholders involved in championing rights for persons with disabilities in Kenya generated passionate responses from the audience, which highlighted the need for Kenyans to embrace the rights of everyone including those that may be faced with challenges.
“Let’s start with this building [Alliance Française], getting to my seat required a team of people and more than thirty minutes,” said an audience member.
“I’m very impressed and inspired by Marko, knowing that even deaf people can be successful musicians,” said another audience member.
Through his duties as the Special Representative for promoting the rights of people with disabilities for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Signmark has performed in more than 30 countries showcasing his show Silent Shout.
Signmark’s performance at Nakumatt Lifestyle Lounge was attended by hundreds of people, young and old, those with disabilities and those without, testifying to music’s ability to create inspirational stories and ultimately bridging humanity.
“Whining and complaining will not achieve anything. Start small and don’t stop dreaming,” urged Signmark.
The audience members rose and instead of clapping conventionally, raised their hands and rotated their palms like “jazz hands” in appreciation for Signmark’s inspiring performance.