Singer Bumi Thomas: ‘Border Native’ live music performance


For The Showroom’s Collective Intimacy live programme, singer Bumi Thomas presented Border Native, an evening of live music and conversation celebrating music as a catalyst for integration, advocacy and social change in collaboration with Amnesty International. This special live performance was a part Bumi Thomas’s series Border Natives hosting immersive evenings of live music and interdisciplinary discussions, with performances from Bumi Thomas & Special Guests – including Max Andre Rademacher on Ngoni and Ayo Odia (YUNG Afrika Pioneers) on Sax.

There is very little documented about Border Natives (people born in the UK/ any other country but not automatically considered citizens). This ongoing series encourages people to speak out and ask questions about the complexities they are facing as they experience the immigration process. It is an opportunity to define this grey area, highlight evolving identities, cultural liminality and transformation. To raise awareness and have an open dialogue about the current intergenerational challenges UK born commonwealth citizens and descendant of the Windrush generation and Europeans are currently face as a direct result of the hostile environment policy.

The following themes are explored:

  • Evolving Identity
  • Collective Memory
  • The power of the archive
  • Lived Experience + the importance of peer to peer sharing
  • Proactive kindness
  • Accessing community + support networks

A ‘Border Native’ is a term referring to children of Citizens of the Commonwealth Born in the UK on or after January 1st 1983. subject to the enforcement of the British Nationality Act 1981. which states that children born to parents from the former colonies were no longer entitled to automatic citizenship.

  • Why wasn’t the public properly informed of these changes at time?
  • Why are there people in Britain today who are still unaware?
  • How do we bridge the information gap?
  • Why are people born in the UK after 1983 are being treated like refugees in their country of birth?
  • What hope is there for more humane changes to hostile environment Policy

Interdisciplinary Dialogue:

  • The challenges of Integration
  • The consequences of displacement
  • Community building
  • Support systems
  • Mental Health and releasing trauma
  • Healing and transformation
  • Understanding the Migrations landscape
  • Raise ethical standards
  • Ensuring that safeguarding at the heart of the solution
  • Support more people
  • Challenge public attitudes
  • Reshaping policy
  • Understanding Human Rights
  • Justice and the importance of experienced legal representation

The ‘Border Natives’ Concept + Experience is curated and conceived by Bumi Thomas

Bumi Thomas is a dynamic contemporary African, acoustic Jazz-folk-soul singer songwriter whose style is inspired by her multicultural heritage. To enjoy Bumi’s music is to experience a mix of sound that combines jazz, high life rhythms, Afro-beat, reggae and blues melodies, infused with folk and delivered with soul. A sound rich in texture and stimulating lyrics.

Born in Glasgow, and raised between the tranquillity of a Nomadic desert town and the colourful excitement of Lagos in Nigeria; Bumi is now based in London after completing a degree in Fine Art Media & Visual Communication. Her music represents the journey of a modern African creative in the U.K. Over the years, Bumi has captivated audiences through her live performances; from London cafes, bars and jazz haunts to the Royal Opera House. Her influences are wide ranging and include Bjork, Yinka Shonibare, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Sade Adu, all of which have that same potent truth and conviction in their music.

Bumi’s says: ‘My musical journey is essentially about transcending boundaries and is an exploration of the relationship between art, experience and emotion. My work also encapsulates my evolution as a woman. My experience in Nigeria as a woman of Yoruba and Igbo heritage living in Hausaland has shaped me. Though I still retain aspects of my British experiences of early childhood; I had a thick Glaswegian accent when we moved to Kano and still retain the Scottish attitude about being less uptight about life.’

As a singer/songwriter, Bumi is inspired by the journey of life, the emotional of the human experience and the opportunity to drive positive change through art and music. Were she not a musician, a destiny in the arts would still be on the cards; Bumi is a painter and a freelance photographer, with exhibited works in the Truman Brewery and Cre8 Gallery Bumi continues to strive for her goal of “working with young people and women to help find their voices through the arts” She is a founding member of the F.R.I.D.A project (Female Revolution In Dance and Art) based in London and contributed a series of photographs inspired by the life and legacy of feminist cultural icon Frida Kahlo to the project. In her life as both a photographer and a musician, expressing her own truth, stimulating dialogue and adding experiences of beauty is what is most important to her.

This programme took place within Theaster Gates’s installation Black Image Corporation presented by Prada, The Vinyl Factory, and The Showroom. The Collective Intimacy live programme was inspired by Gates’s ethos of collaboration and The Showroom’s commitment to togetherness and communal knowledge, taking on multiple trans-located narratives of the current Black experience as a point of departure for a cosmopolitan worldview. In response to Gates’s reactivated spaces in Chicago and how his socially engaged projects enable communities to connect and grow, Collective Intimacy aimed to create a new space for people to gather, listen, converse, and contemplate amongst a fusion of art, design, music, and everyday life.

Black Image Corporation presented distinct spaces creating a myriad of possibilities for collective engagements, featuring an installation of Gates’s art objects, furnishings, and new films that capture the methodologies of urban renewal and community activation founding his practice. Pieces from Chicago imbued with powerful histories, uses, and localities resonated with distinctive lounge design from here in London – like a love letter between two cities, under the roof of a new House. Taking place at both 180 The Strand and The Showroom, Collective Intimacy hosted interdisciplinary interventions by artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public, who were all invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness in the spirit of creating a global community.



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