Deaf percussionist bangs the drum in 3D film about science of sound

Dame Evelyn Glennie stars in Just Listen. Picture: Jane Barlow
Dame Evelyn Glennie stars in Just Listen. Picture: Jane Barlow
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AS THE world’s foremost percussionist she has performed with symphony orchestras and the cast of Sesame Street, but now Dame Evelyn Glennie is set to hit the big screen.

The Grammy Award-winning instrumentalist is to star in a 3D film which will be shown in cinemas around the globe.

The Aberdeenshire virtuoso, who is profoundly deaf, will narrate and perform in Just Listen, a production which explores the science of sound.

The Scot has already travelled to Vancouver to begin shooting the film, which is due to be screened in IMAX cinemas worldwide.

The movie will showcase Glennie’s live performances alongside images of bats, bottle-nosed dolphins and whales.

Glennie has expressed her delight at the prospect of becoming a film star at the age of 46. The Royal Academy of Music graduate said: “The moment I learned about the incredible science in this film I knew I had to be involved.

“I am really quite fascinated by echo-locating bats and dolphins and have always wondered how sound affects the unconscious brain.”

Producer Brad Lisle said the manner in which the musician overcame her lack of hearing made her the perfect person to front the project.

The president of US film company Foxfire Interactive said: “This is a story about the science of sound and Evelyn has a unique way of experiencing sound.

“We believe her inspirational personality will have a huge impact on the people who will watch the film globally and show children, in particular, that anything is possible.

“Her role as narrator and performer will transport audiences to places they have never been before and inspire them to listen more closely to the world around them.”

Filming for the Firefox production has already begun in Canada. The film’s promotional website, which is due to be launched later this month, describes the project as “an extraordinary feast for the ears and the eyes.”

It states: “Follow Evelyn Glennie, who happens to be deaf, on a scientific journey into the pulsating sounds of our planet.

“Fly through the echo-location world of bats, swim with singing humpbacks and decipher the language of the bottle-nosed dolphin.

“Discover how sound affects our breathing, heart rate and brain waves and listen to the pulse of our earth with seismologists.”

Glennie, who has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12, grew up on a farm near the town of Ellon, in the north-east. She was initially rejected by the Royal Academy of Music in London on account of her lack of hearing, but successfully appealed and proved herself to be a major talent. Her work was recognised by the Queen in 1993 when she was awarded the OBE, and in 2007 when she became a Dame.

The Ambassador for the Royal National Children’s Foundation made an appearance on the educational US children’s show Sesame Street in 2001, where she played percussion on Oscar the Grouch’s metal bin.

Last year she performed on the CBeebies musical show ZingZillas.