#MTVFestivalSeason: Lollapalooza’s Sign Language Interpreter Explains Why Every Concert Should Cater For Deaf Fans
Amber Galloway Gallego is the talented lady from THAT viral Kendrick Lamar video...
Amber Galloway Gallego had a busy Lollapalooza weekend, appearing on stage with The Weeknd, Metallica, Charli XCX and a ton of other performers. But, no, she’s not a backing dancer or a musician: she’s a sign language interpreter.
Speaking to MTV US, Amber – who has been certified for 15 years – explains why every concert should have an interpreter.
“[Artists] have to care about their deaf community, too, because those are also ticket-buyers; they are also fans.
“The deaf concertgoers, they want to also have access. And so much of their life is not accessible. They’re fighting everyday for access.”
After attending a concert with her then-partner, who is deaf, Amber realised the deaf community were being excluded and created her own style of signing to songs. Using facial expressions and body movements, she is able to convey the music to those watching, as “music is more than words.”
“The interpreters, for a long time, have just focused on the words — and not a thought about all the other layers that come with it to actually make it equivalent,” says Amber. “I show all the instruments, because they need to be able to see the riffs.
“So, it’s kind of like using onomatopoeia in sign language. It’s not only words — it’s also all the different layers.”
Amber spends up to three months studying past set lists, dissecting lyrics and making storyboards before a concert, as sometimes she’s only given the new set list five minutes before going on stage. However, she’s still fighting for more artists to provide signing on stage.
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“If the artists actually looked at that and said, ‘Hey, let’s make a budget line for interpreters, and make sure that there’s access for the deaf community,’ it’s a done deal. But a lot of times they don’t. So deaf people don’t have equality. It’s not equal access at all.
“Most of the time, hearing people are enjoying it, too. It also piques their interest into learning sign language. So the more people that learn sign language, based on whatever video that goes viral, that’s more access to the deaf community, and that’s more of us coming together as one human race.”
Check out Amber's YouTube channel for more of her American Sign Language covers.