Irish singer not stopped by wheelchairMar 09 02:35
Interference, one of the most influential bands to come out of Ireland in the past 20 years, yet a band that is still largely unknown, has a personal connection to disability. Fergus O’Farrell (love his name) is the founder of the group and has Muscular Dystrophy. He’s had to use a wheelchair since his early 20’s.
Fortunately, O’Farrell was lucky enough to have the type of MD that is slow-moving and relatively mild, so now even in his 40‘s, he’s still able to sing beautifully. Both a singer and songwriter (and a piano player before his condition took away his ability to move his hands), O’Farrell is known for his stunning voice. In fact, O’Farrell actually says that his voice improved because of his condition (watch in the video link at the end of this post). MD can limit the way you breath, and for singers like O’Farrell, that can require some creative ways to get around it.
What I love about Fergus is how is didn’t skip a beat because of his disability. For many people, the prospect of conquering the music industry as a wheelchair-user seems too daunting, if not completely impossible. Even O’Farrell admits he had his naysayers, including a record producer who told him “Blindness works in the industry, but not wheelchairs.“ But that didn’t stop this band from producing several albums over the years and touring worldwide.
If you Google Fergus O‘Farrell, you’ll see a ton of great stuff about him. One of the coolest things I found was this great interview where he talks about what his disability and the difficult journey it can be (losing mobility a little at a time). “The strange thing is that my condition has become something I cherish. It is at once, a pain in the ass and the greatest gift I have ever been given.” Beautifully said, which is not hard for an Irish songwriter.
Fergus lives his life according to a belief-system that is similar to mine since I too landed in this chair: Stay true to yourself and never relent. Fergus O’Farrell an Irish badass. Never say die, never let a condition take away you true life passion.
- Check out the official site for Interference
- A frequent performer in the city, O’Farrell weighs in on the recent NYC accessible taxi debacle
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.