FORUM

  • Vivian Phillips

SHINING A LIGHT ON SOMI


For Black Music Month 2021, the light shines on Somi upon the imminent release of her latest album Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba, which honors the South African singer/activist Miriam Makeba. The album features special guests Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Angelique Kidjo, Gregory Porter, Thandiswa Mazwai, Seun Kuti, Nduduzo Makhathini, and Msaki.


If you’ve ever experienced Somi, you’ve been touched by the voice of divinity. Her major label debut album, Lagos Music Salon, transports to the intimate salon gatherings and street life of the bustling city of Lagos. In person, her performances entrance and offer ample helpings of sumptuous and elegant interpretations of the life Somi experiences and observes. In Seattle, you may have seen Somi at one of her performances during Earshot Jazz Festival, or at Langston Hughes, or even at Lucid Lounge.


One of my greatest joys is watching the careers of Black women artists soar. In Somi's case, I've also watched her put in the work - touring, writing, recording, being a citizen of the world and sharing her gifts widely. Born to Ugandan and Rwandan immigrants, her music reflects the breadth and depth of her world connection. This year, Somi was nominated for a Grammy® for her 2020 release Holy Room – Live at Alte Oper with Frankfurt Radio Big Band. She holds the distinction of being the first African woman to be nominated in any jazz category. She also won the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Vocal Album.


Thank you Somi for giving us your offerings in tribute to Miriam Makes and congratulations on the much deserved notice you are now receiving!


You can find Somi's music on all of your favorite streaming sources!

Album cover image credit: Chris Schwagga