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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

Beyu café

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Durham, North Carolina, April 2023

“Go to Durham: you'll love its vibe, it has its own soul'. I had moved to the 'research triangle' in North Carolina not even a month before, and this is the most recurring advice I have received from new friends and colleagues since the first weeks.

The first few times I went exploring, it was all true: a mix of ethnicity, lots of music and art, delicious food. Like many cities in the South, Durham was home to many plantations and enslaved black people in the 1800s: over time, many cultural traditions (crafts, music, art, dance) were nurtured by recapturing African origins, and are still very much present throughout the community today. The Hayti district has indeed developed with many businesses and has received national acclaim for the emancipation of black people.

So I decided to go back to the Beyu Café with a friend, on a Saturday night because there was live music. I picked one of my favourite Southern dishes: jazzy shrimp and grits. The flavours are very bold, the combination leaves you speechless.

The show had already started when we arrived: from the stage to the audience to the tables, the vibes were great. Those who quivered to keep time, those who danced, those who drummed with their hands. Everyone in the room was totally into the trio of vocalists and their crazy voices, accompanied by Dorien Dotson on drums. Totally soulful and jazzy, they did a very special version of Purple rain. Their eyes twinkled as they glanced at each other with heart-warming smiles. I had goose bumps and couldn't stop smiling.

What impressed me more than anything else? That we were strangers in a room, yet I felt connected to the vibe, totally at ease and in tune. One of the first times I felt 'a little bit at home', even miles away.

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Durham Civil Rights Mural

My favorite Afro shop

3 amazing voices

Some chats with the artists

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