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Kris Haplin

Kris Halpin, a songwriter and performer with Cerebral Palsy, uses innovative gloves to play music. The gloves track Kris' movements and allow him to sculpt sounds seemingly out of thin air.

Kris Haplin in the studio with Imogen Heap

A talented guitarist and songwriter, Cerebral Palsy was increasingly hindering Kris Halpin's musicianship. Struggling and considering withdrawing from performing altogether, Kris searched for a solution. A charity, Drake Music, supported Kris in working with Grammy award-winning musician Imogen Heap, who had devised a gestural instrument called "mi.mu gloves". She had developed the gloves to allow electronic music to be performed in a freer, more physical way.

"The gloves weren't devised to be accessible," says Kris, "But they enabled someone with a physical impairment like myself to work within their limitations to realise their musical vision - suddenly anything was possible."

Kris is the first disabled person to use the gloves, and used National Lottery funding to devise and tour a live show, The Gloves Are On.

The show set out to reimagine my music with this new instrument, and tell my story. More importantly, I realised that the show had social impact. Many people told me the show made them think differently about disability, and reactions were often emotional. I set out with modest ambitions to perform my music, but the show has become a much needed amplifier for a conversation about art, technology and disability. That, for me, was beautiful - to see the power that music could have, and also the impact that National Lottery funding had enabled.

Kris Haplin

Kris now tours the show full time, both nationally and internationally. A short documentary about the show was commissioned which you can watch below:

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