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Tricia Garay and Affy Green reflect on Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives’ event, Sounds of Colour

We had fretted over the venue being on the outskirts of town, wondering if that would affect ticket sales – the Folk Café is off a dirt road next to farmland and the recycling centre, getting to the event did feel like a real retreat.

During the day it’s a charming little cafe – rustic cabin style. But we had transformed it into a mini-market, of sorts, thriving with energy. There had been months of planning leading up to this night, tickets had sold out five days before the event and that somewhat calmed our nerves.

Arisha, one of our prized contributors was greeting people along with percussionist Seneke Sillah, who performed in the entryway.

Seneke and Rosy perform at the Sounds of Colour event (53013389)
Seneke and Rosy perform at the Sounds of Colour event (53013389)

Our BSE4BL stall sat in the corner brimming with books from our book train, volunteer sign-up sheets, bright yellow patches and T-shirts proudly displaying the Black fist, made by BSE4BL’s founder, Evelyn Polk. A white father took some badges for his children to wear to school. An older white woman bought a T-shirt and talked about how her nephew was mixed race and she wanted to support him. A young man took a copy of Me and White Supremacy. Most of our new volunteer sign-ups took place at the end of the night after the public saw what we do.

Three of our visual artists set up outside. Their installations displayed some of their beautiful artwork. Tina Doughty displayed her striking painting of a Black woman laughing. It had cloth stitched into the canvas with gold paint accents.

Bernard painted two portraits of his eerie characters during the event, his portraits were truly unique and evocative. Lily was putting the finishing touches to her stall displaying bold art prints and striking T-shirt designs. She was admiring the musicians who were performing in the next room.

Lily with her stall at the Sounds of Colour event (53013387)
Lily with her stall at the Sounds of Colour event (53013387)

Singer/songwriter Yoji set the bar high with her soulful voice and meaningful lyrics. Many people agreed we would one day be saying: “We saw her before she was famous.”

Next, high-spirited dancer/choreographer Rosy May gave out flags of different countries and encouraged audience participation. She taught us a few steps and away we went, trying to keep our steps in sync with hers. We were impressed by the impromptu performance between Seneke and Rosy they both truly looked in their element and connected far beyond words.

Jordan Polk deejayed between acts and his attractive black and white linocut prints lined the windows and walls. Along with the many BSE4BL news editorials that had been nicely arranged on standing panels. It was impressive to see the many topics of commentary in published physical form.

Our headline act, Maria, thrust us into the dance section of the evening, mixing electronic music live and freely dancing as she sang. Originally from Norwich Maria said: “It was a heart-warming to be in a diverse space to celebrate black creativity, as that’s not something that often happens.”

BSE4BL (48064924)
BSE4BL (48064924)

Rosy May summed up the event nicely when she said: “The Sounds of Colour event had such a warm atmosphere, filled with positive people sharing a night of beautiful art in all capacities. I was welcomed by the audience, by the organisers, and by the other performers and I left the event with my heart full of happiness and fulfilment that you only get when in the presence of creative and kind people.”.


Tricia: Instagram – @few_warks

Afrika: Instagram – @affygreen; Facebook – @afrikagreen

BSE4BL: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – @BSE4BL

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