Blind Piano Prodigy
February 9, 2012 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Rachel Flowers plays some of rock's toughest compositions on keyboard. Oh, and jazz and classics too. Impressive, for an eighteen-year-old. Who is blind.
posted by Doohickie (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Good at piano? Sure. Blind? Okay. But both?!
posted by mrnutty at 6:35 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Hoedown" from Rodeo by Copland. Astonishing.
posted by the_bone at 7:02 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Her rendition of the complete Tarkus by ELP is simply stunning, even if you hate ELP. If you dig them, this is manna.
posted by dbiedny at 7:07 PM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

She's incredibly talented, seems very modest... she'll never make it in the music business :P
posted by milnak at 7:31 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Amazing. I just posted some of these on a prog music forum. They're going to flip.
posted by Ber at 7:36 PM on February 9, 2012

I think she's playing the lead vocal part in places also. And drumming occasionally.
posted by goethean at 7:39 PM on February 9, 2012

She is astonishing. In addition to her take(s) on ELP--amazing enough -- I also checked out her rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman" which was a revelation. Check the side columns and her YT channel.

I don't know WHAT THE HELL synths shes got but she does a healthy portion of Beethoven's fifth, and between the two keyboards (the bottom seems more for French horns and other brass) she even gets the strings to "punch" in various dynamic ranges, and uses one with a KORG-like tympani attack when you smack it hard (like their 01 series, though this doesn't look like a KORG to me at first glance) . All this made a believer out of me. I can't wait to hear Trane's "Naima" and the rest of her stuff there on YouTube. Incredible talent. What a post!
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:47 PM on February 9, 2012

And if that wasn't enough...
posted by Songdog at 8:08 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Songdog: And if that wasn't enough...
Oh, naturally. Jeez, now she's just being a dick about it. :)

I will say again that when I've done strong hits of acid and played the piano, the most astonishing thing is how ludicrously easy it was, and how my mind opened wide up to realize that 88 tones is nothing to manage. I think people like this just 'clicked' with some way of hearing that makes the gulf between notes seem vast, and thus easily navigated... and then their ears stay that way. The rest of us are only like that in rare moments- or under the influence...
posted by hincandenza at 1:04 AM on February 10, 2012

I haven't listened to or thought of ELP in ages. So easy to cure these days. :-) Gee Rachel, you're selling records for ELP. Ask for a percentage.
posted by Goofyy at 2:13 AM on February 10, 2012

hincandenza- It was ludicrously easy to you, but how did it sound to the sober people around you?
posted by Doohickie at 6:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Somehow, her being blind makes it seem less impressive.
posted by Jairus at 7:06 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Jairus beat me to it.

I feel a bit like an arsehole for saying it, but really, how does her lack of vision increase the difficulty in performing this piece?

I know it means she can't read music, but there are certainly a number of sighted pianists that can't read music, but make their living playing.

Personally, (again the arsehole in me must speak) I think her blindness may actually be an advantage when it comes to hearing and reproducing music accurately.
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 8:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not even being snarky here: for me, the most remarkable part of all of this is that an 18-year-old girl in 2012 is obsessed with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:13 AM on February 10, 2012

Actually, she *does* read music. She reads Braille music translations. Most musicians I know memorize their recital and performance pieces anyway, so in a way, you're right... not very impressive. Except that most 18-year-old pianists I know still use vision to locate the keys they want to play and would not be able to play in a dark room.

Given that she is blind, though, it makes sense that she would pour herself into music like this. Other kids would be distracted by other activities, but lots of those activities are not in her repertoire and probably music is the coolest thing she can do.
posted by Doohickie at 12:16 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This FPP is seriously weakened by the ending sentence.

Few disabilities have less influence on playing most musical instruments than blindness. There are many piano pieces that could not be played by someone affected by dwarfism, for instance. Someone born deaf would have a hard time improvising. A legless piano player would need some assistance with pedals, or else pretty special aids. But blind? Barely relevant.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:33 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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