Acclaimed artists and emerging new musicians will perform live at Scotland in Colour 2022, the fourth annual celebration of the culture and creativity of Black people and People of Colour (BPoC) from around Scotland, on Saturday 3rd September 2022 at the Old Royal High School on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

Featuring headliners BEMZ, BBC Introducing’s Scottish Act of 2022, lauded jazz outfit Grace & The Flat Boys, rising artist Billy Got Waves and a host of young performers, Scotland in Colour (SiC) is driven by a desire to increase the visibility and confidence of artists marginalised within the creative sector and is hosted by Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS), the country’s leading charity for BPoC young people.

As well as running support services such as Scotland’s only free, fully-funded mental health service for BPoC children and young people, IYS offers a range of participatory programmes with an emphasis on nurturing talent, creative expression and forging pathways into the performing arts.

Scotland in Colour is a celebration of the young artists IYS connect with through their services, with many such acts set to hone their live talents at the venue’s Pianodrome, a unique amphitheatre constructed entirely from discarded pianos.

Free and open to all, the showcase will feature a special performance of ‘Out of the Common’, a collaboration between musicians with differing experience from IYS and Drake Music Scotland, the country’s leading organisation creating music making opportunities with children and adults with disabilities and additional support needs.

Farhad Ahmed, Associate musician from Drake Music explains: “Emerging artists Esther Goliath and Omar James from Intercultural Youth Scotland have been busy creating soulful beats, lyrics and poetry to collaborate with Drake Music Scotland’s prolific composer Chris Jacquin and Sanjeev Mann, whose influence and beats are making a new mark on Scottish hip hop.”

Following the youth showcase is a ticketed concert in the School’s Old Grand Hall featuring an eclectic crop of artists and DJs from around Scotland, such as rappers AD3, Skyy Boii and Bemz, himself a keen supporter of IYS’s work.

Many SiC acts have previous IYS associations, with rapper AD3, known for drill-influenced singles such as ‘Bipolar’ and Edinburgh tribute ‘E Town’, having been involved since the grassroots organisation’s beginnings in the late 2010s. In 2021 Grace & The Flatboys used their Scotland in Colour set – then one of the versatile, international band’s biggest shows to date – to help launch their debut EP Wheels. The multi-talented Billy Got Waves also returns to Scotland in Colour after last year’s spot, having since released Rocket Boy Act 1, the first of three EPs comprising the charismatic young artist’s narrative-driven new album.

Further highlights include the set from Edinburgh mainstay Skyy Boii, an artist whose passion, drive and impeccable flow have seen him play with heavyweights The Game and Skepta, and that by 4Tune, the smart, R’n’B vocal group who recently featured on the GRDN Sessions, the live YouTube series run by artist-producer Sean Focus.

Music Vault, SiC’s closing party (18+) will offer sets from a pick of DJs currently making waves through Scotland’s club scene such as Iso Yso, a Glasgow-based DJ whose sets take inspiration from orchestral compositions and video game soundtracks, Optimistic Soul aka electronic music DJ and producer Sibusiso Mpofu now showcasing his love for underground afrohouse and afrotech at his own Africa Is Now night and KTAB, the Moroccan-Scottish DJ/producer soon to make his debut as a recording artist.

While music is the focus of the festival, SiC features further opportunities for families, fans and individuals to connect and celebrate through BPoC-led art workshops, food stalls and an outdoor area with its own bar situated at the accessible entrance to the venue. Inside the venue there will be rooms made available for rest, relaxation and baby-changing.

Currently being repurposed for community and cultural events through Pianodrome’s Summer Resonancy at the Old Royal High School, the venue is a short walk from Waverley train station, Edinburgh bus station and bus stops on Regent Road served by several local services.

Matthew Wright, Director of Pianodrome, says: “We’ve been blessed to work with Intercultural Scotland a few times and are in awe of their energy and their activism. Our Resonancy at the Old Royal High heralds the site’s future use as a new centre for music in Scotland’s capital, and we’re here to open the doors to people from all backgrounds in the hope that all can feel welcome to engage in its future. Scotland in Colour will be a great opportunity for us to collaborate with IYS again and to support them in creating an amazing celebration of under-represented music and culture.”


Photo by Michael C Hunter