I had hardly finished my snotty comment in the Phosphorescent post on PopMatters’ slowness in running music features when I noticed that they had, ahem, just posted my Somi interview. How embarrassing. I apologize.
Anyway, Somi, the multinational, multi-genre’d soul-jazz-world singer…
I took this one on as a lark, knowing very little about the singer but kind of intrigued by her story. It’s not my usual kind of music, to say the least. (I like classic soul and African music a whole bunch, but this is a little too smooth for me…to each his/her own.) Still, it was an interesting interview, and lots of people do like her music, so why not check it out?
Somi: A Complicated Sense of Home
By Jennifer Kelly 2 July 2010
“I’ve come to understand that home is always within us,” says Somi, a vocalist whose transnational heritage is as unclassifiable as her jazz/world/pop/R&B infused sound. Somi spent her childhood in Zambia (where her father worked for the World Health Organization), her adolescence in suburban Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, a post-college stint in East Africa working with AIDS orphans, and she retains strong emotional and cultural ties to her parents’ home in Rwanda and Uganda. With her third album If the Rains Come First, Somi says that she has come to a more all-encompassing sense of who she is and where she comes from – and how that sense of self, and home, gives her strength. “To move through the rains, the challenges that life brings, we can always go to that place within ourselves to find that open palm that’s willing to help us.”