The music on Somi‘s new album ‘The Lagos Music Salon‘ is world-class Jazz. Her sound is so intimate, so lively, so deep, so beautiful, it is simply magic. As the album title indicates, it is the result of a musical relationship with Lagos, the Nigerian metropolis. In 2009, the singer of Rwandan and Ugandan descent decided to move to Lagos for 1 1/2 years and started to get inspired by the town itself as well as by collaborations with local artists:
“It grew into a series where I’d invite local artists to perform as well. That work greatly enriched my experience, challenged me to think more about African notions of cultural intimacy, and gave birth to The Lagos Music Salon concept” (Okeh Records).
It is fascinating how Somi succeeds to bring together the lightness of sweet melodies with very deep and serious social issues, issues that most of us just want to ignore in our daily lives. On the track ‘Four African Women‘ for example, she tells the stories of four women who experienced a different hardship in their lives: genocide, skin bleaching, circumcision and prostitution. In the dramatic track ‘Brown Round Things‘ she sings about sexual exploitation that prostitutes face. American rapper Common joins her in ‘When Rivers Cry‘, an advocacy track for Africa’s polluted nature. Somi invites us to listen to these issues from another perspective, actually from another level of conscious, which can probably only be reached by Jazz music.
Watch the video for the track ‘Last Song’ and listen below to snippets of all of her songs from the new album. You can purchase the album via itunes here.