Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Alice Needham
Following her performance at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 28 July, I’m keen to keep up with Indigo Marshall. It’s a hot Sunday which means I’m grateful for the open-air stage and even though I’m running just on time, I’ve got a bit of breathing room before I have to start taking notes.
Victoria Square welcomes an enthusiastic host who encourages us all to scan a QR code and play some virtual basketball while we wait for Indigo and the 93:00 Collective. Doesn’t he know I’m here to work and very easily distracted!?
Indigo graces the stage at around 7:30pm after a few rounds of b-ball and she’s instantly captivating. Maybe she’s born with it, or maybe it’s the ‘I just played to a billion people’ post-show glow.
There’s nothing arrogant about her presence though, quite the opposite. In fact, Indigo is persistently humble despite her stunning talent, and ever grateful for the inspiration our fair Birmingham provides.
Victoria Square isn’t packed out but it’s busy, and cars whizz past as the band begins to play. I’m worried that I might struggle to hear Indigo’s smooth, soulful vocals. However, as she begins my fears dissipate; Indigo’s voice is strong and her honey tones lift above the random city noises that concerned me moments before.
Her effortless runs make me feel like riding fluffy white clouds through the sky, and Indigo’s RnB rhythms and thought-provoking lyrics mean that I am winding my arse in public on Sunday whilst also missing every ex I’ve ever had.
Indigo’s expressive voice continues to project into the sunset and as she gives thanks to the band; Indigo welcomes the Raffa from the 93:00 Collective, which Indigo is also a member of.
Raffa’s rocking his classic bucket hat and long dreads which energetically dance around him as he spits bars with purpose. His flow is catchy, wrapping around Indigo’s chorus. The pair bounce off each other and once Tarju Le’Sano joins it’s a proper family affair.
Although I’m a bit disappointed not to see all three artists on stage together for any length of time, it’s hard to get caught up when Tarju insists on being as frank and honest about the city’s culture as he is.
He’s not the kind of artist that I would’ve expected to see getting lit at the Games, but as I listen closely Tarju’s sometimes subtle and sometimes very frank criticism of our current social, economic, and political climate is poignant even if it’s not aimed directly at the Games.
His track ‘Selfish’ slows the tempo down a moment – “My city can you celebrate me while I’m living my dreams?”
I hope so. I hope the Commonwealth Games shine a permanent spotlight on this city’s creative talent so our government invests long-term, rather than illuminating Brum’s artistry temporarily for the sake of international clout.
For more from the Commonwealth Games 2022 go to: www.birmingham2022.com