@ the Rich Mix
15 November 2014
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Born in Illinois to East African parents, Somi and her six siblings
began to shuffle through the life of a diplomat scientist-cum-university
professor’s family, thus exposing Somi to stories and music
from all over the world. Having lived in Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania,
upon moving to New York City Somi was the featured vocalist in the
African Globe Theatre production of Drums under the African Sky.
This led to collaborations with Amel Larrieux, Tsidii Le Loka, Roy
Hargrove, Lionel Loueke, and Lonnie Plaxico. She gained more attention
after being featured in Source Magazine alongside Mos Def and other
lyricists involved in a police anti-brutality project entitled Hip-Hop
for Respect, and in 2005 she shared a stage with Cassandra Wilson
at the Blue Note jazz club’s New Year’s Eve celebration.
She has performed at Joe’s Pub, B.B.King’s, The Blue
Note in New York City, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and Chicago’s
famed South Shore Jazz Fest, among many other international venues.
Somi recently found time to complete a master’s degree at
New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has been
profiled in numerous media including CNN International, BBC World,
National Public Radio, TV 5 Monde, VH1, MTV, and BET. In 2006 she
was invited by the International French Cultural Centre to tour
fifteen African countries. Earlier in the year she helped the Rwanda
Ministry of Culture and World Culture Open to organise the fifth
Pan-African festival of Dance in Kigali, Rwanda, while consulting
for the United Nations Development Programme’s International
Conference on Creative Economies for Development.