Bumi Thomas is a contemporary British Nigerian – Afro Brazilian singer-songwriter and a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores transcending cultural and ideological boundaries, using music and photography as her mediums of synthesis. Bumi was a delegate at our PopChange retreat in Canterbury in the autumn of 2019. Here is where our connection with the artist begins. She joins our network and has been commissioned to produce a performance for our ‘Black Heroes & Sheroes’ Black History Month programme.
Born in Scotland, raised between Glasgow, Kano, Lagos and now based in London her acoustic, evocative style is inspired by her multicultural spectrum. ‘l tell stories about movement, displacement, joy and humanity’. Bumi studied fine art and visual communication at Bath Spa University.
Thomas has spoken at TEDx Events about the Power of Purpose, the role of art in evolving cultures and the Ripple Effect in the Next Generation. She uses her platforms that curate spaces for trans-cultural dialogue using music and art as catalysts for social change.
In June 2019 Bumi received a letter from the UK Home Office telling her she had 14 days to leave the country or face deportation, despite being born in the UK and living here for over 20 years. Her case became a cause celebre, due to public outrage with the #JusticeforBumi petition signed by more than 25,000 people across Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Hear the BBC Interview.
In October 2019, the High court Judge ruled in Bumi’s favour saying it would not be in the interest of the British public given her talent and positive contribution to British Art and Culture. Bumi was granted Indefinite leave to Remain (ILR) in August 2020.
BUMI earned her stripes on the live circuit and has shared the stage with many musical greats, including Tony Allen, the legendary Afrobeat drummer and TY the British hip hop pioneer, Ginger Baker, Keziah Jones, Shingai Shoniwa, Ayanna Witter Johnson, Melody Gardot, Rhiannon Giddens, Laura Mvula, Les Amazones des Afrique, Andrew Ashong and more. Playing sold out shows in venues such as the London Jazz Cafe, Roundhouse, Somerset House, Ronnie Scotts, Royal Festival Hall,WOW (Women of the World) Festival, EartH, London Palladium and the Royal Albert Hall.
Following her performance Frieze Art Collective Intimacy a programme curated by Theater Gates, Vinyl Factory, PRADA mode and the showroom Gallery, Bumi recently featured in Britweek 2020 a platform that celebrates creativity and innovation between the US and UK.
Her latest EP ‘Broken Silence’ released in June 2020 reached No 1 on the UK Itunes RnB charts and was described as ‘Strikingly original’ by London Jazz News and ‘Visceral and Timely’ by The Sunday Times. The lead Single ‘Black Child’ was featured on BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends
Click on the image to listen to Broken Silence EP on Spotify:
Broken silence is her first response to the ordeal, a story of evolution, solidarity, love transformation and rebirth. It is a journey that encompasses politics, culture, migration and activism through music. It responds to the UK hostile environment policy, a consequence of systemic and institutional racism locally and globally, and highlighting the importance of the authentic female voice in evolving cultures.
Bumi Thomas was born in Glasgow to Commonwealth Citizens in 1983 and is currently raising awareness through her Initiative ‘Border Natives’ Migration Culture + Interconnections about the retroactive consequences of the 1981 British Nationality Act on UK Born residents that are yet to be formally recognised as citizens in Britain today, due to the changes in Immigration law that have compounded in the Hostile Environment Policy.