You Don't Have to Hear to Enjoy "Happy"

These days it seems like anybody whose anybody is covering or doing a parody of Pharrell Williams's "Happy," quite possibly the catchiest tune ever to grace the airwaves.

Photographs Redefining Disability.

And why not? Its funky, upbeat rhythm and ubber-positive message have been topping the charts worldwide. Lampooning musical icon Weird Al Yankovic couldn't resist bestowing his signature satire with his new release, "Tacky." Almost as entertaining was a "Happy" musical duet on the Tonight Show by Sarah Palin and host Jimmy Falon as Vladimir Putin.

Even lip synching Iranian youths posted a video of themselves getting footloose on the rooftops of Tehran. (The fact that they were temporarily jailed as a result in no way detracts from the song.)

But don't assume that the song's ubiquity is completely rooted in sound, because this is what happened when "Happy" fell on some very creative deaf ears:

Thanks to the performance and translation skills of Rosa Lee Timm and Azora Telford, campers and staff from Deaf Film Camp at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York converted the lyrics into American Sign Language and gave the song their own spin.

Photographs Redefining Disability.

Just as William's video features people from all walks of life singing and dancing, the Deaf Film Camp's joyous interpretation shows kids, counselors and even the camp priest signing and expressing their happiness all over the campground.

Their video is already pushing 700,000 views after just two weeks on YouTube. Considering the camp's mission to educate young people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing in the art of filmmaking—including directing, acting and cinematography—it's safe to say the program is extremely effective.

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