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Cantor Gad Lewis
  • I was wondering; is Cantor Gad Lewis blind? I realize that he wears a watch and I watched a lot of his videos online. However, if you have the new channel ME Sat (Mar Markos Egyptian Satellite), they have a Kiahky Tasbeha done by him and the deacons of his church and whenever the camera goes on his face, his eye movements just don't seem natural.

    Thanks and God bless.
  • Cantor Gad Lewis and I are best friends. We have each other on speed dial and everything.

    Yes, he is blind.
  • [quote author=TITL link=topic=12712.msg149256#msg149256 date=1324339460]
    Cantor Gad Lewis and I are best friends. We have each other on speed dial and everything.


    Sarcasm?
  • Not exactly, more like something I want to believe in my head.

    They say I have quite the imagination. :)

    (I really do have him on speed dial though. I just haven't built up the courage to call him yet. Some day.)
  • Well, then why does he wear a watch and some do say he's not blind AND in some videos he's talking to the people normally and looking at them like a person with vision? I'm not trying to prove you wrong because I, myself, don't know.
  • You'll notice that there are a lot of blind or partially sighted cantors in Egypt.

    The reason I believe has some history, but I will leave that to those who know what they are talking about to give you real information. From what I've heard at any rate, people with sight problems were taught the Church hymns frequently, because they are able to retain the hymns faster than someone who isn't blind.

    This is a gross generalisation, but generally, when one of your senses has been weakened/absent since birth, you gain a marked improvement in the sharpness of your other senses, in this case in hearing.

    I know a brilliant Cantor in his mid thirties in the church my father and his family were brought up in, in Shoubra, Cairo. This man was the disciple of an older blind Cantor of the church, who passed away five or six years ago. And if my memory serves me correctly, the younger cantor seemed to have perfect vision back then: he used to lead the old Cantor by the hand in and out of the church. Nowadays, the younger Cantor is partially sighted.

    I don't understand what has happened, but it is either one of the three things. Either:

    a) He was always partially sighted, and I have a terrible memory (most likely, but I certainly remember him leading the older Cantor around, and he couldn't do that if he was blind.)

    b) He somehow naturally developed an eye problem in the few short years since becoming the main Cantor.

    c) He has done something to his eyes in order to make himself partially sighted. Or he developed an eye condition (like a cataract) and neglected to have it treated.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would follow through with option c). And b) is too much of a coincidence. And it seems that there are many cantors who have vision impairment, perhaps not all were born that way.

    A mystery to me.

  • Many cantors are blind, but not because of the reason you assumed (ie, they retain hymns faster than someone who isn't blind).

    I believe the real reason is that it is a socially historical practice that remains until today. In the Necropolis of one the Pharaohs (I can't remember the name), the heiroglyphic writings show blind cantors learning music from a blind teacher. I don't think it had anything to do with increased competence of blind cantors, rather it was a way for the Egyptian community to employ and train blind citizens. Since they couldn't do most agricultural or administrative work without seeing (and reading), then they decided to give them jobs that didn't involve sight. Naturally musical education and temple praise fits in perfectly. So they began to train blind people. Eventually, there were many blind people who became music teachers. It's not the increased competence but the increased training that makes them good memorizers (and by Ancient Roman standards "more religious". See Herodotus in 440 BC)

    The practice  continued in the Coptic culture. Blind students were expected to become music singers or teachers.

    I have no comment on why a singer or music teacher becomes blind other than to say pure statistical coincidence.

    TITL, maybe you can muster up the courage and call Cantor Gad Lewis and ask him if he was blind from birth or not. And why he believes many cantors are blind.
  • How do you say 'blind' in Arabic? Na3ma? No, that's grace... um, I don't think I can do this..

    I called him once a couple of years ago (I've had his number for a while), but once he answered "allo?", I got scared and hung up. I haven't called back since.

    If you want, I can give you his number and you can ask him. :)
  • TITL, the proper word if "Kafeef"
  • No, I don't think that's it Mina.

    Oh, is it "A3mad"... no that's my Uncle's name..  ::) OH!! 3ama!!! Right?!
  • You are thinking of "a3-maa" which does mean blind but the word is not the best to say to an old person. Kafeef is much better......trust me on ths.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=12712.msg149294#msg149294 date=1324401298]
    TITL, maybe you can muster up the courage and call Cantor Gad Lewis and ask him if he was blind from birth or not. And why he believes many cantors are blind.

    He was born blind from birth. I foudn out that my dad gave him a ride from El-mansoura to Cairo a long time ago (maybe more than 25 yrs ago). I asked my dad about him and he told me this.


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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