Songs My Mother Never Sung Me: A poignant look at the deaf and hearing worlds


Dave Clarke struggles with a label for his creation, debuting at the upcoming Chinook Series.

It’s not really an opera, says the Edmonton musician and sound designer, but neither is it a musical. Yes, there is music and singing — but there is also sign language.

In Songs My Mother Never Sung Me, Clarke tackles a deeply personal tale — what it was like to grow up a CODA (child of deaf adult). Both of his parents were born to women who had been exposed to rubella during pregnancy, which is linked to deafness in offspring. While his early childhood experiences were different from the other kids, far from proving a handicap, Clarke says his mother’s condition proved instrumental in his choice of career.