Primary Instrument: Vocalist


When Somi was growing up, her mother told her that the rain, ever unpredictable, could be as much a blessing as a challenge. The blessings might come before the rain, or they could come after--it's all in the timing, she said. That notion has stayed with the charismatic singer and songwriter all her life and now provides a metaphorical focus for her third album, If The Rains Come First. The album, which releases October 13 on ObliqSound, is a stunning collection of self-penned story-based songs, a meditation on opening ourselves up to life's blessings and challenges much in the way that we accept the rain and all that it brings....
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All elegance and awe...utterly captivating! --All Music Guide

Somi really took me by surprise. Here’s an African woman with the sultry sensuous voice of a great soul singer, and she’s true to her roots too. As if that weren’t enough, she gets great arrangements and musicians. She’s really a great new voice! --TOM SCHNABEL, CAFÉ LA, KCRW FM

Imagine the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves. Such is Somi. --JAZZTIMES MAGAZINE of the most distinctive voices of New York’s progressive Soul Movement. --VILLAGE VOICE

East African singer Somi’s voice is full-bodied and sure. --TIME OUT NEW YORK

...this enchanting vocalist proves that we must drop the term “world music” once and for all and stop lumping African cultures and music together. Blessed with a sparkling, crystalline voice and the restraint to let it sit within the music as one instrument among many, Somi’s work is delicately threaded and flows by with breezy, effortless grace. Jazzy chord structures change with the utmost patience...Expect smoldering intensity live. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE

...Red Soil in My Eyes...celebrates her East African heritage while staying true to soul and jazz voice to the post-colonial African experience in the Diaspora with an authentic blend of the contemporary and traditional. --CARIBBEAN LIFE

...the smooth, deep-voiced singer of Rwandese and Ugandan heritage moved around a lot as a kid, becoming a citizen of the world in the process. Jazz, funk, soul, gospel and African music are all rolled into what she calls ‘holistic new African soul,’ and she’s not afraid to shuffle line-ups to better explore different facets of her music...A deeply personal album, it soars on the strength of her voice and maturity, no doubt taking this singer to the next phase of her career. --GLOBAL RHYTHM

Grace, nobility, empathy, seduction, swing, global vision, cinematic sweep--these are just a few of the terms that come to mind when attempting to describe the feelings elicited by Somi and her songful, sublime debut. The bridge between jazz and Africa just took on a new elevation. --GREG TATE, MUSIC CRITIC

As a Leader

If The Rains Come First

Red Soil In My Eyes
World Village/Harmonia Mundi

Eternal Motive
SanaaHouse Productions

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