French tetraplegic DJ creates Paralympics closing music with eyes only

DJ, rapper and music composer Pone said he ‘couldn’t say no’ when he was invited to create the dance-style mix for the Tokyo closing ceremony

6 September 2021
Opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Three wheelchair users light the paralympic torch

French rapper and composer Pone, who is tetraplegic, composed music for the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Pictured: The opening ceremony, August 25) Pic: Marco Ciccolella / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

A French tetraplegic DJ has created music for the end of the Tokyo Paralympics by using his eyes only.

DJ and rapper Pone, who was born in Toulouse and now lives in Gaillac (Tarn), is known for creating music using eye navigation technology designed by the late scientist Stephen Hawking.

Pone composed the music for the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics in the same way, after being approached by the organising team for the Paralympics in Paris 2024.

He told France 3: “Of course, I couldn’t say no.”

He explained: “It’s a rather dance-style mix, as requested by the organisation. It is entirely original. The Olympic Games represent pushing yourself out of your comfort zone but the Paralympics are even more than that.

“These are athletes who have had to overcome a handicap. With everything that means, physically but also psychologically. And I can tell you that it’s difficult. They are quite simply heroes.”

The closing ceremony took place yesterday, Sunday, September 5.

Pone’s wife, Wahiba Gallart, said: “Already, I think that to have your music go around the world, even without an illness, is something extraordinary but in the context, it makes even more sense. We have seen the long road he has travelled to arrive here today 

“It’s something that I don’t think even he would have ever imagined.”

Yet, Pone was not too worried about his music being played around the world. He said: “I am not of an anxious nature, so it’s cool.”

Pone, real name Guilhem Gallart, was formerly a member of the French band Fonky Family.

In 2015, he was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder (CMT), an inherited disorder also known as motor neurone disease or ALS, and is now tetraplegic, meaning he cannot move any part of his body. 

He communicates, writes, and composes music entirely using the eye technology.

In June this year, he released a ‘mini-album’, also created only with his eyes, to help raise money for people who, like him, require tracheotomy operations to survive.

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