Sounding Childhood

"Deaf and dumb"

The title of this song might be offputting to today's sensibilities, but in the Victorian era, deaf and dumb, simply mean, meant the inability to hear, and speak. The opening verses, in fact, speak to animals and their inability to speak on their own behalf. But in the final verse, it does narrate the sad situation with a young boy. Yet the singers show empathy to all the animals and children, they describe, which is a reminder of the philanthropic movements of the Victorian era, which, in fact, led to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in 1835, and Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act, 1889 (both English). 

Our singers practiced holding a serious pose for what would have been slow, 19th century cameras, and one dear singer in the middle conveys the true empathy for which she sang.

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