Michael Franti's "The Sound of Sunshine" in sign language

Video link. There's a whole genre of ASL (American Sign Language) music videos, exemplified perfectly by smokin' hot hottie-hot Jennie Batchelder in her fantastic interpretation of Michael Franti's "The Sound of Sunshine." Michael's had ASL interpreters at his shows for 11 years, so come check out more at the Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on September 10-12, 2010.


  1. At first I wondered what would be the point for the viewer, without any rhythm/beat. But then, I realized that deaf person could enjoy this much more by touching a speaker or sitting in one of those speaker chairs. The vibrations would probably give something of an approximation of the music. And yes, Jennie Batchelder is a wee bit of a hottie. :-D

  2. I have enjoyed ASL music videos since I discovered D-PAN in 2008. Please check out some of their videos, specifically, “Waiting On the World to Change” by John Mayer, found here: http://www.d-pan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173 and a rap video done by the founder of D-PAN, Sean Forbes entitled, “I’m Deaf” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5l-2Jo14cQ

    The D-PAN videos (and sooo many others) are all over YouTube and they have some INCREDIBLE creative forces behind them. I hope there is more publicity for this genre of music videos. Everyone has a voice and needs to be allowed to express themselves somehow – even those who may not be able to HEAR those voices!

  3. I bet deaf people have a whale of a time at concerts. If you’re not completely deaf I’m sure you can get a ton of enjoyment out of it, and there’s still vibrations and bass. And that’s before you start talking atmosphere.

    Have to same I’m more interested in her than in more upbeat surfer acoustic guitar though. Phwoar.

  4. I am now grateful for having made an effort to learn ASL – The video is different from just the song the way Sugar Ray’s “Fly” is different with and without Super Cat. My ears heard one half of the song and my eyes heard one half.

  5. The video is great fun, and well signed. At some points it diverges from the song so far as to not really be a translation at all. I’d more call it thematically related.

    In many ways a good ASL song “translation” is like that, because a chorus verse might be musically interesting, but the repetition loses something without music and departing from the lyrics can add a lot.

    1. The same applies for pretty much any aesthetically pleasing translation between two languages, though, so the fact that ASL isn’t an exception isn’t surprising. There’s always a trade-off between accuracy and beauty.

  6. This was my first experience with interpretive ASL dance/music. Top notch, very entertaining. I had no idea that ASL lent itself to dance moves so well. (Even if not a literal translation, it still tickles my symbol-processing centers very pleasantly.)

    1. There are whole dance pieces that utilize or are derived from ASL. And they are often very, very cool. NDT2 did a very moving piece where each dancer learned how to sign letters they had written to departed loved ones.

  7. Main stage at Oregon Country Fair normally has ASL interpreters for all the acts. It’s beautiful to watch a skilled interpreter preform. It’s almost alien at times, complex speach through full-body movement.

  8. This video made me smile. I recently went to a wedding of a deaf couple with many deaf guests in attendance. The music was cranked and we all danced all night long. So much fun!

  9. I believe that you have not lived until you’ve seen CaptainValor’s kick-arse ASL rendition of Re: Your Brains and other Johnathan Coulton tracks :D

  10. Thank goodness this was actual ASL. A lot of the videos that are put on YouTube are ASL students signing English (signs in English word order, literally word-for-side swaps). These student-created videos make no sense to native ASL signers, because they are not conceptually accurate. I was delighted to see that the interpreter was experienced enough to take the lyrics and turn them into a story that makes sense in ASL. Bravo!

  11. Went to a Michael Franti gig a couple of years ago as I’d been a bit of a Disposables fan.

    It was so mawkish, self-serving and ill-concieved I was very glad I’d brought my iPod and sound isolating earbuds along. Spent at least half of the gig rocking to Megadeth.

    Sadly there wasn’t a BSL translator at that gig, I would probably have enjoyed their performance a good deal more than Michaels…

  12. the video cut off her hands so may times!!! I would like to see all the pjrases she is signing– so when the vido zooms in/ cuts to her face, we lose the whole sign language element! is there another link / a different edit of the filming that will show her singing this song without cutting off her hands?

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