Refugee Week Takeover at Symphony Hall

Saturday 22nd June – 2-5.30pm

Jennifer Blackwell Space

Free Event

Celebrating Sanctuary's annual World Music and Arts Festival returns to the iconic Symphony Hall.  Bringing people together to celebrate and experience the culture, arts and stories of refugees and migrant communities through a universal appreciation of music, joy and life.

This year's Refugee Week Festival will bring music and arts from around the world, showcasing the work of highly acclaimed, UK based refugee and migrant artists, plus special international guest artists.  With musicians from Haiti, Iran, UK and Zimbabwe, we promise you will leave happier and more inspired than when you arrived.


  • Ava (Anglo-Persian duo)
  • Birmingham Passage Trio - Germa Adam, Xhosa Cole & Azizi Cole
  • Black Umfolosi – Visiting artists from Zimbabwe

About the Artists

We are delighted to announce Ava as the first of our artists performing at Symphony Hall for Refugee Week 2024!



Ava is an Anglo-Persian group who play mainly original compositions, a fusion of Persian vocals accompanied by kora and flamenco guitar.  Ava will perform as a duet with Mina Fatemi and John Berry.  Mina, is an Iranian singer who performs in her native language, Farsi, with an emotive and poetic delivery that never fails to move the audience.   John Berry has an extensive history of musical collaborations, having played in Salmagundi, a World Music ensemble, as well as with Sura Susso, a West African griot from The Gambia, plus many other musicians.

Birmingham Passage Trio - (Germa Adan, Xhosa Cole & Azizi Cole)

An interdisciplinary arts production inspired by layered stories of migration linked to the Windrush generation and the stories and origins of the artists presenting this unique work. Portraying a different generations passage into a place and how migration can bring a new perspective for both sides of the lens.  Originally a new collaborative work by Germa Adan and Xhosa Cole, commissioned by Celebrating Sanctuary in 2022, supported by the Feeney Trust.

Germa Adan - nullMusician, composer, singer-songwriter, who summons profound artistic depth from the abundant well of her Haitian heritage. Creating a tapestry of ethereal vocal and stringed harmonies, influenced by the overlapping identity with cultures, especially so in the Haitian, American and British folk influences that colour her sound.

nullXhosa Cole - Critically acclaimed saxophonist, flautist and composer, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community outreach arts programmes in Birmingham.  Recipient of, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award (2018), Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Newcomer (2020), Xhosa was also nominated for the Jazz FM Breakthrough act.  He has been involved in various collaborative, performance and compositional opportunities that have helped to establish him as an emerging name on the UK scene.

Azizi Cole - Born and raised in Handsworth, Azizi’s early focus was dance, starting his training with ACE Youth. Going on to explore his creativity through music, Azizi spent several years touring some of the UK’s most renowned music venues and festivals. Moving to Leeds In 2015, he became an accompanist for Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern School of Contemporary Dance, composing, choreographing and teaching, merging his music and dance practices.

Black Umfolosi

cropped-black-umfolosi-5-96523.jpgBlack Umfolosi is an award winning, acappella singing and traditional dance group.  Formed in 1982 by students who wanted to develop themselves and contribute to their communities, in a positive way.  The inspiration was to preserve and revive the Imbube Culture, which was being undermined by a rise in Western Culture. Black Umfolosi is the best travelled Group in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, having toured extensively nationwide and internationally; Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia. They have represented Zimbabwe at International events such as Universal Expo 1992 in Spain, Universal Expo in Portugal 1998 and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada among many more.

Black Umfolosi discovered a need for people to see and learn about Zimbabwean Traditions. The group made it their obligation to demonstrate and teach others around the world about the Zimbabwean and most Southern African traditional dances and music.

Follow CSB on Facebook and Instagram

Supported by Arts Council England & Foyle Foundation.