A deaf musician composes melodies with sound vibrations

Waldenildo Alves, known to his friends as Nildo, is a deaf musician in Brazil. Deafness did not limit Nildo’s development of his passion. At a young age he decided that music was something he wanted to learn, but his first attempts weren’t easy. It was hard to find someone who could teach him.

At the age of seven, he liked to fall asleep feeling the vibration of the sounds emitted by the vinyl record that his mother put on the record player. At age nine, he started playing the flute, but the lack of vibration near his body led him to switch to guitar. Also, Nildo now plays other instruments. In 2009, he was encouraged by his music teacher to start composing.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope, because I’m deaf,” Nildo said. “The teacher gave me a piece of advice: no matter the sounds, the main thing is that you feel the vibration that corresponds to the sounds.” The vibrations also help a person understand how to compose lyrics that blend well with the melody.

To better feel the emotion that each note brings, Alves began to pay attention to other musicians. “As they play music, I stay close to them and understand what is happening through the vibrant rhythms of sounds between bass and light, emotion, lamentation and animation,” Alves explained. “I can also follow and use the guitar, because of its tone.”

Nildo in his childhood, when he started to be interested in music. [Photo: courtesy of Waldenildo Alves]

Those who wanted to hear the songs played by Alves were invited to follow Evangelibras, an evangelistic program created especially for the deaf, which began airing on July 15 under the theme “Hands of Hope”. Team coordinator Alexandre Silva is a Brazilian Sign Language interpreter. The event was entirely developed and produced by deaf people, organizers said.

Ministry in the Church

Inclusion of people with special needs is the goal of Adventist Possibility Ministries (APM), say Adventist church leaders. A new document recently voted for inclusion in the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s manual urges every Adventist congregation to include space for those facing various physical and mental challenges.

“This movement will bring to the church a broader and more meaningful knowledge of our usefulness, creating more conditions for programs and projects to be tailored to serve everyone, based on their particular challenges,” Alacy Barbosa, coordinator APM for eight South American countries, said. “It will create the space and the conditions for these people and their families to be better integrated into the church and its programs, as well as to use their knowledge and possibilities to preach to others who have similar characteristics,” did he declare.

The original version of this story was published on the South American Division in the Portuguese language news sites.