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Somi: Neo-soul & jazz all in one.

January 13, 2010

I discovered Somi while I was surfing the internet days back. So I started to take a sneek peek of her latest album, If The Rain Come First, the more I listen to her the more I am fond of her music. First, I thought this is a great great debut album, but my ignorance got the best of me when I found out that she has previously released 2 albums before the electric soul-jazz of 2003’s Eternal Motive (SanaaHouse) and the acoustic, culture-merging elegance of 2007’s multilingual Red Soil in My Eyes (World Village/Harmonia Mundi).

Somi,  an American singer & songwriter of Rwandan and Ugandan descent combines jazz and neo-soul elements into her latest album. Here is a summary of her album, from her record label, ObliqSound.

From the album’s opening track, “Hot Blue,” Somi’s delicate yet pliant vocalizing is matched by the band’s flair for establishing a potent groove against a sweet melody line. It is forward motion, a flawless juxtaposition of sizzling rhythm, instantly memorable melody and a vocal style that JazzTimes magazine describes as “the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves,” All Music Guide calls “hauntingly reverent, intense and utterly captivating,” and Vogue simply calls “superb.” With an all-star African rhythm section featuring Madou Koné, Herve Samb and Michael Olatuja and a special guest appearance by legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela on the album, Somi burrows deep into her words and something transcendent emerges.

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