I'm Tired of Talking about My Deafness; Exclusive: Scots Musical Genius Reveals the One Subject That Is Taboo

Article excerpt

Super Scot Evelyn Glennie is one of the world's most brilliant percussionists. She has also been profoundly deaf since childhood.

But don't dare mention her deafness, especially if Evelyn's ultra-protective husband, Greg Malcangi, is around.

For that's one subject Evelyn now treats as strictly taboo.

Evelyn Glennie's talents are without question, her stage shows electrifying and the range of 700 instruments she plays awesome.

She has made a fortune, not because she's deaf, but because she's a musical genius.

Yet I was only minutes inside the door of Evelyn's large, mock-Tudor home in a quiet Cambridgeshire village, when husband Greg told me sternly - without introducing himself - that Evelyn "will not be answering questions about her deafness."

When I arrived, Evelyn's assistant told me she wouldn't be posing for pictures with Greg "because that's private".

Instead, in an astonishing display of protectiveness towards vivacious Evelyn, 31, Greg answers all questions relating to her hearing.

He referred me to their World-Wide Web* site on the Internet, where an electronic magazine has been created for fans of his wife -and includes a statement about her deafness.

Greg says: "People should enjoy the experience of being entertained by one of the world's great musicians rather than some freak or miracle of nature.

"If the audience is only wondering how a deaf musician can play percussion, then Evelyn has failed as a musician."

The young music producer, who wed Evelyn three years ago, adds: "Evelyn's hearing is something that bothers other people far more than it bothers her.

"There are a couple of inconveniences but in general it doesn't affect her life much.

"To Evelyn, her deafness is no more important than the fact she is a female with brown eyes.

"Sure, she sometimes has to find solutions to problems related to her hearing and music but so do all musicians."

Minutes later, I was greeted by Evelyn herself, a waif-like Size 8 in black satin trousers.

In a room filled with more exotic musical instruments than furniture, Evelyn admits: "I'm not domesticated at all.

"We don't have a lot of furniture, because I don't buy just for the sake of it. Where some women buy clothes and make-up, I'd rather buy instruments. It's an addiction."

An ornately-carved, glass-topped coffee table in the sitting room is a memento of her and Greg's honeymoon in Bali. …