The fearless notes of a blind maestro
Jody-Anne Cloete trained in classical music, but dance anthems are her jam. She plays the accordion just as well as the piano. At every turn, Cloete defies expectations. “My parents were told I would not be able to learn anything,” she says. Cloete was born blind, partially brain damaged and autistic. But her musical talent surpassed her prognosis.
At the age of three, Cloete’s family recognised her penchant for rhythm. When she was nine, the instinct to play the piano kicked in. She began hitting the right keys, even though she couldn’t see them. “Music has the ability to transform lives,” Cloete says. “It did that for me.” With confidence, she pursued classical, participating in competitions and performing at shows. Cloete made her first tape at just 11 years old. Then jazz tugged at her soul, giving her added freedom to improvise and let her creative spirit shine.
Composition is Cloete’s forte, and new songs come to her easily. “I can hear the music in my head, and then I go to the keyboard and play it,” she says. Wherever Cloete goes, the harmonies follow. “When I play, I feel exhilaration,” she says. “Nothing will stand in the way of doing what I love.” Cloete can always be found behind a piano. At the home for adults with disabilities where she lives, Cloete’s melodies fill the air and unite her fellow residents in joy. When we pursue our purpose, we can live on a high note.