Inclusion Now 51

UK Disability History Month

In 2018 our theme is Disability and Music. We hope you will support us by spreading the word, organising activities and donating to UKDHM. We want to explore the links between music and the experience of disablement in a world where the barriers people with impairments face can be overwhelming.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing saxophone

The creative impulse, urge for self expression and the need to connect to our fellow human beings often trumps the oppression we as disabled people have faced, do face and will face in the future. Each culture and sub-culture creates identity and defines itself by its music.

‘Music is the language of the soul. To express ourselves we have to be vibrating, radiating human beings!’ Alasadair Fraser.

Over the month we will be developing resources on our website and a broadsheet for the public and students in schools and colleges. These will focus on composers, musicians, singers and performers from Beethoven to Evelyn Glennie, Stevie Wonder to Gurrumul Yunupingu, including Connee Boswell, Lili Boulanger, Sudha Chandran, Ray Charles, Vic Chesnutt, Judy Collins, Johnnie Crescendo, Ian Curtis, Delius, Ian Dury, John Kelly, Gabriela Lena Frank, Landini, Claire Lewis, Joni Mitchell, Moondog, Mozart, Paganini, Derek Paravicini, Izhak Perlman, Hikari Oe, Ravel, Django Reinhardt, Laurie Rubin, Mik Scarlet, Schumann, George Shearing, Smetana, Tom Wiggins, Hank Williams, Robert Wyatt, Alisa Weilerstein, Thomas Quasthoff, Neil Young, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Boy Fuller, Lennie Tristano, Tete Montoliu, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Art Tatum, and many more.

Evelyn Glennie playing percussionOur twelve page broadsheet will examine a wide range of subjects from disabled protest singers like Johnny Crescendo and the place of his Choices and Rights which became an anthem of the Disability Rights Movement to the impact of disability for many classical composers and performers. How polio impacted on a range of performers from Connie Boswell to Ian Dury. How the stereotypes of literature find their way into opera and musicals influencing both libretto and musical expression. Examining blues, jazz and pop and how disabled performers not only infiltrated the music industry but shaped it. Looking at how NGOs are finding new ways to include disabled young people through music.

UK Disability History Month runs from Monday 19th November to 22nd December. Start organising and planning events, meetings, assemblies, schemes of work, concerts and exhibitions and share them so we can publicise them. Contact our coordinator 0208 359 2855 or

Richard Rieser