Homegoings: Senayit Tomlinson On Art As A 'Way Through'

Jun 2, 2021

A conversation with Senayit Tomlinson about Black trauma, music and getting through.

Note: Our show is produced for the ear. We recommend listening if you can! But we also provide a transcript here.

This is the second installment of Homegoings, a special series from Brave Little State that features conversations with musicians of color who live in Vermont. Follow the series here as we release new episodes weekly through June 15.

Check out more Homegoings episodes:

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Who is Senayit Tomlinson? 

Senayit Tomlinson’s sound is unapologetically genreless. On her website, her musical comparisons range from Florence and the Machine to Led Zeppelin. She both lives and creates her music on a property that spans across the Connecticut River, from Bradford, Vermont to Orford, New Hampshire.

Watch/listen to "Hard Reign" (WARNING: Raw footage of police brutality with live gunshots, tear gas attacks and many pictures of Black people who have been killed):

Lyrics:

written by Senayit 
performed and recorded by Senayit Tomlinson and Michael Sundeman

It’s my children, my cousin, father, my mother
my aunt, uncles, my bringer, and my sisters, they suffer
And she stands up she stands out, with grace and with ease,
despite the war machines, to spite the war machines.
LOOK at what they have done, to leave us only this;
those images, that sound and I think
“man, fu-- it”

(But you pull me into you,
for a second or two,
everything stops, everything stops)

It’s so hard, it’s so hard
so hard,
here comes the reign
 

Our dead haunt the streets, the sidewalks, the trees,
every day their numbers grow, every day the numbers grow.
And how many will die, before you also scream, “NO MORE”
before you also scream, “THIS MATTERS”, and “NO, NOT ONE MORE”?
How many will die before the only recourse is to BURN it down,
you know I want to burn THIS down

(But you pull me into you,
for a second or two,
everything stops, everything stops)

It’s so hard, it’s so hard,
so hard,
here comes the reign

But you pull me into you,
for a second or two,
everything stops, everything stopped.

Credits: 

Reporting, production & original music: Myra Flynn

Mix & sound design: Myra Flynn & Josh Crane

Digital production: Myra Flynn & Elodie Reed

Brave Little State executive producer: Angela Evancie 

bravelittlestate.org

Credit Elodie Reed / VPR

Homegoings is a special series from Brave Little State that features conversations with musicians of color who live in Vermont — about Black grief, resilience and music.

Follow the series here as we release new episodes weekly through June 15.