Rhyth­mic, ready and able

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - LIFE - The As­so­ci­ated Press

PRAGUE, Czech Repub­lic — It’s an un­usual or­ches­tra, one that has played in Lon­don, Madrid, Moscow and Jerusalem. Its next stops are New York,Wash­ing­ton and Chicago.

The Tap Tap, cre­ated 18 years ago to give stu­dents at a renowned school for the dis­abled in Prague an ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity, has be­come a ma­jor mu­si­cal op­er­a­tion that has drawn mil­lions of fans, first at home and grad­u­ally abroad.

You can’t tell from its pro­fes­sional, typ­i­cally rhyth­mic sound that many of the mu­si­cians are in wheel­chairs with se­ri­ous dis­abil­i­ties. And that’s just what its di­rec­tor wants.

Band leader Si­mon Ornest be­lieves that of­ten the dis­abled aren’t chal­lenged enough and peo­ple tend to be too so­lic­i­tous of them.

“My goal from the very start was not to do it as a ther­apy but as a band with ev­ery­thing that it could in­volve,” Ornest said.“(Those) around 18 to 20 years old are con­fronted in our band for the first time with a sit­u­a­tion where we re­ally want some­thing from them. We in­sist on it.”

Ornest said he had a feel­ing the con­cept was vi­able but has been as­tounded at its suc­cess.

“I wouldn’t be­lieve it would be pos­si­ble to de­velop it as we have done. It’s an elab­o­rate sys­tem with hard work be­hind it, un­ex­pect­edly hard work,”he said.

He said the band’s strength is based on its two es­sen­tial rules.

“We come on time and we do what we promised among our­selves to do. It’s a pretty good ba­sis for any team­work,”he said.

In the be­gin­ning,The Tap Tap started with cover ver­sions of their favourite songs.Today it pro­duces mu­sic of its own, with help from lo­cal mu­si­cians, and lyrics that tar­get the world of the dis­abled.

“We try to sing about the peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in a sen­si­tive but also hu­mor­ous way,” Ornest said. Their re­cent hit,The

is about a bus driver who pre­vents a dis­abled man from board­ing the bus with his bi­cy­cle.The song has had over 6.9 mil­lion views on YouTube — quite an ac­com­plish­ment for a song sung in Czech in a coun­try of only 10 mil­lion.

“At the be­gin­ning, peo­ple were more cu­ri­ous about what we are, about what the dis­abled can per­form,” said Jana Au­gusti­nova, a The Tap Tap singer.“And then (came) pity, won­der. Now, we have fans as any other band. They like our mu­sic and they don’t con­sider us a band of dis­abled kids but as a real band.”

Today, the 20-mem­ber en­sem­ble plays about 60 con­certs a year and has been pre­form­ing a mu­si­cal at the Na­tional The­atre in Prague. De­spite all the dif­fi­cul­ties of go­ing on the road, The Tap Tap has played a num­ber of European cap­i­tals. This year it is cross­ing the At­lantic to put on con­certs in New York City,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.