By Angela De Santis
With passion, soulful melodies and inspirational lyrics, Bell’s Roar captured the audience at her intimate concert in honor of PRISM’s Transgender Awareness Week in the Brower Student Center on Thursday, April 23.
“I like to write music that comes from my perspective,” said multi-instrumentalist Sean Desiree, who created the solo project that is Bell’s Roar.
Her first song of the night spoke about abuse, which she says is prevalent in our culture, especially in family cycles. She says these issues are important to talk about for self-expression, and that is why “music is so therapeutic.”
Desiree’s original song, “One Shot,” discussed gender nonconformity and being “whatever you want to be.” As she continued through the night, the audience swayed and sang along, and new groups of people began to gather closer to the performance.
“I loved the music,” junior English and women and gender studies double major David Sanchez said. “It was relaxing and had powerful expressions of gender and assault.”
The music transformed into a more energetic tone as Desiree interacted with the audience and brought some humor and laughs into the show.
She performed a remix to Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” and slowly faded out into a powerful song about ancestors that had audience members air-drumming. She then remixed a previous song from the night and danced away in front of the crowd.
“I feel like when you make music, you can go in so many different directions, so why not make (your own)?” said Desiree regarding the remixed songs.
She also covered blues singer Ma Rainey, who was discussed earlier that day at a queer music workshop she held on campus.
“It showed the portrayal and influence of queer artists in music and how it has evolved,” said junior biology major Hailey Marr, who also helped organize the concert and workshop.
The name of the project, Bell’s Roar, comes from the “energy of roaring,” but is also a tribute to feminist writer and social activist Bell Hooks, who focuses on the intersections of race, capitalism, gender and systems of oppression.
After the show, many members of the audience stayed to take pictures and talk more with Desiree. She also spent time selling her CDs, which are each handmade by the singer-songwriter from recycled plastic bags.
“It’s really great to reach out to queer artists and give them a platform,” Sanchez said.