Cynical music fans like to talk about the things that aren't happening today; things that aren't happening in jazz, that aren't happening in R&B. A few months ago, I was invited to witness what was happening at New York's Joe's Pub, in the person of recording artist, Somi. There are times when luck is on my side; an unanswered email, or an interview shoot gone long, and we'd instead be reading of an opportunity missed. We're not. The chanteuse gracing the stage, newly signed to Sony Music's reincarnated Okeh label, was opening a three date residency at Joe's Pub, the music venue of the venerated Public Theater. The late night event, a rather intimate setting, with less than fifty people in attendance, was crackling with an expectant buzz. The supper club, it's lights emanating, rather than shining alternatively purple, blue and red, coolly welcomed the tall singer to the stage -- the colors of her regal African patterned dress accepting the room's compliments. There was some advanced word on the streets, with the artist having previously released an album domestically, and debuting at number two on Billboard's World Music Chart. Her name and sound were, nonetheless, unknown to these ears. That was then. This is now.
Born in the United States to Ugandan and Rwandan parents, Somi's connection to Africa has always been constant. Though raised here, she spent time as a child in Kenya and Zambia, and most recently, returned from an eighteen month sojourn in Lagos -- Africa's most populous city, where she soaked in t...
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