In Summary
  • Collins Mutindi has released what is admittedly a new concept in music viewership: incorporating a sign language expert in videos produced by his studio.
  • To make the video versatile with the barest of intrusion, the interpreter is cast as part of the characters, thus giving the impression of a conversation between insiders.
  • Syncing the lyrics with sign language was an arduous task.

Over the past few years it has become almost standard practice for nearly all TV stations to feature, at the bottom right of the TV screen, a sign-language interpreter to enable hearing-impaired viewers — a sizeable, yet ignored section of the viewing public, keep abreast of the world around them.

Relatively new in Kenya, the trend has helped tap into a hitherto neglected segment of the market, enhancing inclusivity in news viewership. However, this new dispensation is yet to fill an important gap: music.

But a young man from Waithaka Town in Dagoretti South Constituency plans to turn the volume a decibel higher. Collins Mutindi, a music producer who owns Collins Mutindi Productions — an outfit that, besides producing music incorporates artiste-management and event promotions, has released what is admittedly a new concept in music viewership: incorporating a sign language expert in videos produced by his studio.

The single, titled "Mingi Mingi" (Swahili for many) by a relatively new artiste, Jane Iguri, is an upbeat song that encourages people to focus on their goals and expect many (blessings).

SIGN LANGUAGE

To make the video versatile with the barest of intrusion, the interpreter is cast as part of the characters, thus giving the impression of a conversation between insiders.

Syncing the lyrics with sign language was an arduous task, Mutindi says, but that’s not all.

“To hire an interpreter is very expensive. Through friends, I was able to connect with an expert, but he was living in Kitui (County). To have him come over for the video shoot we relied solely on text messaging!”

Another hurdle resulted from the fact that sign-language in Kenya is not offered in Swahili, yet "Mingi Mingi" is done entirely in the language.

“We rehearsed over and over again to get it right,” Mutindi explains.

“But it paid off, and we learnt. More videos are on the way.”

It almost never happened; this life, that is. Mutindi, 33, knows what it means to stray off the path. Born in Eastlands, the father of two — a boy and a girl, nearly got sucked into trouble that, in retrospect, could have led him to jail or death.

“Some of the friends I grew up with ended up in prison, while others were killed,” he says.

In primary school, Mutindi, a fairly bright boy, was involved in petty crime — stealing from his classmates, truancy and barely into adolescence already knew how to chimney cigarette smoke out of his nose.

CHANGE

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