[MAKE UP EVENT] The Beauty of Cello: Young Concert Artists Winner, Jonathan Swensen

The new star of the cello world, Johnathan Swensen performs in part with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Marquee Sunday Salon Series for Emerging Artistry in the Foellinger Great Hall on February 16, 2020. 

By Elena Grantcharski

Johnathan Swensen is a Danish-American classical cellist. He is an emerging performer in the classical world and this performance was a testament to that. The first thing that I would like to point out about this performance was that it was in a “salon style.”  When I saw it described as such on the website, I was honestly a little confused as to what that means. I’ve been inside Foellinger Great Hall, but I’ve never heard of a performance that was in this salon style. Unfortunately, I had a discounted balcony seat but salon style puts the audience on stage with the performer. The entire stage is filled with chairs, leaving a small section for the performance. There are also refreshments such as wine and coffee offered. I found this super interesting but it made sense to me knowing a bit about the classical music world. It felt like a very “high class” or elitist event but I don’t mean to say that in a bad way. I love classical music, and I loved this concert.

The salon set up at Foellinger Great Hall includes a table that offers refreshments such as wine or coffee.
Continue reading

The Heavenly Strings

The heavenly strings that pulled my heart so perfectly and unexpectedly.

Written by Jackie Dominguez De Paz

            In a world where everyone is in a hurry, it feels like one never gets the time to close their eyes, stop for a while and think. To think about everything that life has thrown at us but we have never taken the time to fully understand. A one hour cello performance by Jonathan Swensen allowed me to reflect on my thoughts that have been suppressed for so long.

Continue reading

An Emotional Musical Performance by Somi

Laura Kabasomi, or Somi, speaks and sings from the heart as she entertains the audience with stories and music inspired by her African heritage.
-By Daniel Holley

The stage is set as the audience files in for the show.

This performance was as much about music as it was about a story. Between musical performances with her talented ensemble, Somi spoke to the audience about what inspires her to write and sing. As a child of African immigrants, clashing cultures and racial tension has always been a challenge for her. However, she finds strength in her heritage, and uses it to connect in similar situations. As a current resident of Harlem, New York, the largely African community helps her establish confidence in her identity, and this confidence is apparent in her powerful vocals.

Continue reading

Somi : the best jazz performance I’ve ever watched

On the evening of Valentine’s Day on February 14, Somi’s performance was held at Colwell Playhouse in Krannert center.

By Aejin Shin

concert tickets

Somi, the daughter of immigrants from Rwanda and Uganda, was born in Illinois, where the show was performed. She is a very famous vocalist and composer. Her songs have very special theme – the stories of African immigrants in New York’s Harlem.

She told a story before performing. This was a very effective way to get the audience engaged. Also, these introductions and backgrounds also took place in between songs. When perfoming, it felt like she was directly communicating with me. She also naturally included the audience in her performance.

setting of the stage before the performance begins

Somi’s performance consisted of Somi and her band. They showed great chemistry. The band made her song more exciting. Different types of musical instruments were used, and the techniques of the performers were different song by song.

Somi introduced musicians from her team during the performance. The thing I was impressed with was that Somi showed a very deep respect to her band. In fact, this kind of performance is usually performed mainly by vocalists. But Somi shared the spotlight with her band members resulting in most musicians getting a chance to play solo. They looked like true friends, not just partners.

Standing ovation after the performance

She sang various kinds of songs. The day of the concert was Valentine’s Day, and there were songs about oppressions, Harlem, and so on, including a love song centered around Valentine’s Day. She sometimes screamed and sometimes sang in a sweet voice. She led the performance skillfully. I admired her professionalism. Due to my native language not being English, sometimes I couldn’t fully understand her message. However, her music clearly contained a message easy to follow. Even if I couldn’t fully understand the lyrics, her performance helped fill the gaps.

If you’re more curious about Somi and her performance, you can visit Somi’s site for more information.

Somi: The Refashioning Jazz With A Homecoming Night

Written by Zeying Lang

Somi. (https://krannertcenter.com/events/somi)

This is a homecoming performance. As the music plays, memories flowing by. Born in Champaign, Illinois, the outstanding artist Somi is the first generation of immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda. Tonight, at her home town, with the fantastic jazz band, she tells her stories in her music about growing up as a descendant with African heritage.

Continue reading

Somi: Being Present & Bringing Cultures Together

Somi, an Urbana-Champaign native, performed in the Colwell Playhouse at KCPA on February 14, 2020. Her jazz performance sent a prominent message about being present and told a story of the diverse, culture-rich Harlem.

Written By Zackarya Faci

From the moment Somi stepped on stage there was nothing but positive vibes in the air. She prefaced the performance with a little background about herself; she would even ask the audience questions and build off that engagement. One could easily tell she was being genuine and sincere as her bright smile and cheerful laugh filled the performance hall. Somi is of Ugandan and Rwandan decent and grew up in Champaign, but she has since moved to New York. The songs she performed were from her latest album “Petite Afrique” (meaning little Africa in French), which pertains to the microcosm that is Harlem.

Somi receiving a well deserved standing ovation
Continue reading

Somi: A Jazzy Journey

By Jacob Rominger

Somi. a local of Champaign-Urbana, gives a world class performance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Event: https://krannertcenter.com/events/somi

The stage which the band performed upon. Notice there are no brass instruments in this Jazz band
Continue reading

Local Talent: Somi Emitting Power and Love

By Veronica Y. Gonzalez
Statue outside the Colwell Playhouse
Stage before performance began
Event Program

For Valentine’s Day, I had the pleasure of attending Somi’s performance at The Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Prior to this event, all I knew was that Somi was a jazz artist from Champaign-Urbana. I had never attended a Jazz performance so I had no idea what to expect. Her performance was breathtaking. She set a really high standard for the future Jazz performances I will see. Her voice and storytelling were beautiful and the musicians accompanying her were extremely talented. It was also exciting to hear her sing in French because I don’t get to practice my French very often.

Continue reading

Somi:“the voice kissed by the God”

Somi, a vocalist and songwriter, brought a brilliant jazz performance with her band on Friday,
February 14, 2020, at Colwell Playhouse, Krannert Center.

Written by Bingchen Li

At this romantic Friday, Somi and her band brought a brilliant jazz performance to the Colwell Playhouse. On this special day, we can witness lots of young and elder couples watched this show with a loved one, what a meaningful date!

Somi was born in Champaign, Illinois, and her latest album Petite Afrique won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album. She is an amazing story-teller and she combines African music element to the jazz that you can hear the calling sound from an African tribe and
metropolis.

Somi and her amazing band
Continue reading

Somi: a crush on jazz on a Valentine’s Day

The set before the performance began

On Valentine’s Day of 2020, the jazz band Somi delivered an amazing performance at the Colwell Playhouse of the Krannert Center of the Performing Arts. Her beautiful voice, the amazing improvisation of different instruments, their collaboration, as well as the ideals of inclusiveness deeply ingrained in their music, made the audiences truly fall in love with the performance and the band.

Written by: Yushan Guo

Continue reading