Story of Sarina Cohn

Oct, 11, 2011 - Sarah Nardone

Sarina Cohn is a young talented blind Belgian musician and singer who overcame her handicap through music

Sarina is a talented young musician and singer with a strong personality that makes the audience forget instantly about what makes Sarina special among the music competition participants. Sarina is born with an eye deformation called retinopathy of prematurity due to a lack of oxygen and a premature birth. A little while ago, she still had 5% one eye vision but since September 2010, she is blind. This evolution was unexpected, she had to deal with it and adapt to her new condition step by step, something she did with strength and perseverance, some of her qualities that people can feel at the first exchange of words with her as well as her audience when she performs live. At 17 years old, Sarina radiates maturity, easing and lucidity translated in her music and voice by a disturbing but powerful tranquility. For some years, Sarina shares her music experiences, her meetings and passions on her blog with sighted and unsighted people for whom the website can be read in Braille.

For Sarina, music is about sharing and understanding. She writes for pleasure, spontaneously, sometimes to support her family members in their daily life. At ease both in French and Hebrew, her songs are full of poetic voicing and catching melodies that seduce her audience every time, who always listen to her with a much enthusiasm as the first time. Because what is distinctive with music is that “we don’t need words” says Sarina. Music brings everyone a place and exchange is at the heart of its mechanism. When Sarina played in Norway for the Imagine competition, she met many young talents, playing all music styles in a friendly environment. But it’s her meeting with a group of Zambian artists that left a mark on her. 

Playing the piano since she was 5 years old, Sarina confronted her classical and academic European musical training with the Zambian artists approach to music, where spontaneity and instinct are at the heart of the musical and vocal techniques. Coming from two different musical backgrounds, the Zambian band joined Sarina for a jam session where everybody played with freedom, in a respectful, friendly creative environment where everybody supports each other. An improvised music training that inspired Sarina to learn further about improvisation.

Despite the daily life difficulties, Sarina is ambitious and should begin a psychology degree at university and enter a musical academy at the same time to perfect what she already does very well - communicate to all through music regardless of one’s particularity.

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