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A surprising number of blind African American singers came from the gospel tradition to influence not just sacred music, but blues, bluegrass, and popular music up to and beyond rock and roll. In addition to the Blind Boys and Ray Charles, lesser-known performers like Flora Molton—who survived by singing on the streets of Washington DC and became an anti-war activist–and Reverend Gary Davis whose “holy blues” influenced Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan made their contributions to American music. While their fans saw them as mystical, larger-than-life figures, these performers spent much of their energy just trying to survive in a sighted world.

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FLORA MOLTON ARCHIVE

Flora Molton , the blind preacher and guitarist we featured in Heavenly Sight, is in the spotlight today as we share not only this remarkable archival photo but also an exhaustive documentation of her discography on this German website .

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National Library Service Offers Blind Musicians Braille Sheet Music

The Library of Congress is one of the great repositories of recorded knowledge, culture, and artistry. One of its many departments, the National Library Service For The Blind And Physically Handicapped , offers visually impaired musicians over 30,000 scores and texts, all in Braille. It’s the world’s largest collection! Every year, over 3,000 requests for scores, instructional materials, biographies, and history books are fulfilled by the agency. This article from the Library of Congress blog explores musicians like Paul Kurtz, Jessica Bachicha. and Ayaka Isono who found this resource a valuable source of inspiration and joy after years without… April 13, 2013

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The Inner Vision Orchestra Performs Gospel & Soul Alongside Ragas and Classical Music

A globe-spanning collection of 14 blind or partially sighted musicians, the Inner Vision Orchestra is a flurry of activity. Not only do they develop a body of new works and perform jazz, world music, classical music, soul, and gospel, but they’ve reached out into politics and science by commissioning research into the needs of blind or partially sighted musicians. The IVO is a dynamic collective with an open invitation to new members. For more information, check out their website  and this article about the… April 1, 2013

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