Viscardi Award Honors Miguel Tomasín, Band Leader with Down Syndrome

Miguel Andrés Tomasín is the leader and drummer of the Argentinian experimental band Reynols. Tomasín is described as being the spiritual architect and creative force behind Reynols’s unique, experimental sound, and the band has reached national and international recognition, with over 150 releases under their belt since 1993. The photo below is Miguel Tomasín, centered between his bandmates, Roberto Conlazo and Alan Courtis.

Photo: Reynols Archive

Already considered as one of the world’s most successful musicians with Down syndrome, Miguel Tomasín also has been the first musician with Down Syndrome to play daily on the Argentine National TV. Tomasín further proved his impact this month when he was granted the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. These awards are given to those who are classified as exemplary leaders within the disability community worldwide and recognizes an individual’s extraordinary societal contributions.

Photo: Reynols Archive

The Viscardi Center gives out these international awards, first bestowed in 2013, while remembering the spirit and legacy of The Viscardi Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs.

Photo: Reynols Archive

The band members, already “legendary” underground musicians, are renowned for their avant-garde approach to music. They even once recorded sounds from 10,000 chickens to incorporate into their recording for one of their albums – it was Tomasín’s idea, of course.

Reynols’s music is certainly interesting; though they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they most definitely rock. And to quote a music journalist, Kurt Gottschal, “Reynols represent everything rock pretends to be.”

Photo: Youtube/Hive Mind Records

You can easily listen to their music at parties or even if you’re just chilling at home and doing some chores. Their music actually reminds me of some of the old synth pieces from an English rock band, Pink Floyd, which my dad sometimes blasts on the stereo. If you like the band I just mentioned, Reynols is definitely worth a listen! Also, they just released an international, collaborative album with another experimental band from Japan, the Acid Mothers Temple.

Photo: Reynols Archive

Making experimental music seems so easy for Miguel Tomasín, and I think his attitude is admirable. Some may think that being a person with a disability would hinder you from achieving as much as Tomasín, but his bandmate, Alan Courtis, mentioned in an interview that one of Tomasín’s favourite phrases is “Por qué no?” (“Why not?”) and I think people should have this kind of mindset more. Asking yourself this question frequently would remove any inhibitions you would normally feel.

Watch Miguel Tomasín’s 2021 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards acceptance speech below.

Written by Louise Peralta

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