Tag Archives: Colwell Playhouse

Stories of Many Through One: Anna Deavere Smith

Ms. Anna Deavere Smith visited the Krannert Center of Performing Arts with an hour-long show delving into discussions about social issues through the perspective of people on the front lines in a style I describe as a mix between theatre and Ted talk.

Written by Grace Chen

Anna Deavere Smith
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Forms of Protest with Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith, a one woman show who comes from Baltimore, Maryland, interviews countless individuals and forms portraits of certain powerful excerpts that can be recreated by her to form strong impressions on controversial topics.

Written by Willa Wu

Anna Deavere Smith performed in the Colwell Playhouse of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on February 19, 2020.  Out of the performances I have seen thus far this semester, this one was by far the most surprising.

The night’s ticket stub and program, which detailed the actress’s accomplishments.
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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: 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
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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

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Somi: A Captivating Voice

On Friday February 14th, 2020 in the Colwell Playhouse at Krannert Art Center for the Performing Arts a performance entitled “SOMI” ,named after the singer, was executed beautifully. Somi and the rest of her band performed a variety of music which captivated the audience through Somi’s use of traditional jazz along with African elements.

Written by: Lydia Amezcua Ramirez

Before the performance began, the instruments were set up for the musicians

A Night to Remember

Many would spend a valentines day out with friends, partners, or just stay in. This valentines I was in for a treat given that I went to go see “SOMI” at 7:30 pm that valentines day. At the beginning of the performance the musicians came in first and began tuning their instruments. The band behind Somi consisted of drums, piano, guitar, cello, violin, viola, and bass. Once they were set up, Somi came in, in a bright red dress that really brought out the color behind such a festive day.

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Somi’s Music

Somi introduced herself and the reason behind her song selections for that night. By doing this, she was engaging with the audience every now and then to let them know the purpose of her song selections. Usually, each genre of the songs she sang had a certain meaning to it and one could feel that through her voice along with the background of the music. For example, she sang love songs in dedication to valentines day which evoked a feeling of love. Other types of songs she sang consisted of melancholy and upbeat moods.

Furthermore, throughout the songs she would interact with the musicians by gesturing at them so that the audience would give them a round of applause whenever they got the chance to perform a solo in the songs. Not only this, but she individually pronounced their names at the end of the performance so that they would all get recognition. I found this really sweet on her part because when I think of the performance I would imagine that she is the star of the show. When she acknowledged the other musicians I thought that showed a grand characteristic on her part.

Somi and some of the musicians from that night playing behind her

Given that Somi’s performance was on valentines day, my favorite song from that night had to be the one that she dedicated to the holiday. I really enjoyed this song because of the mood that she evoked through her singing and because love is in the air around this time of the month which made me fall in love with that song. As for my favorite moment of the night, I really enjoyed when Somi transitioned from singing the slow songs to upbeat songs which really showed me the diversity in her singing ranges, which were truly outstanding.

A standing ovation was given from everyone in the audience

The Stage was left just like it was at the very beginning of the performance, all the instruments and chairs in place. At the very end of the performance, the audience stood up for a standing ovation to “SOMI”. The way they stood up was pretty neat, it was like a wave since the people in the front got up first and then everyone followed after that. After a few minutes of clapping, Somi came back and performed one last song as an encore.

Somi; A story of culture and identity told through music

On Friday, February 14, 2020, at 7:30 pm “Somi” was performed at the Colwell Playhouse. The performance consisted of several songs played a a band and lead singer, Somi. Each song was centered around a theme pertaining to Somi’s life growing up.

By: Daniel Plata

Pamphlet and playhouse before performance starts
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The Cohesive Performance of Somi

Somi, a jazz musician who was born and raised right here in Champaign, IL, set out to change the definition of what jazz and African music entailed, frequently combining the two.

Written by Willa Wu

Somi performed her music in the Colwell Playhouse of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on February 14, 2020.  The singer and her group of talented musicians, who have won countless awards, delivered an awe inspiring performance, where each individual in the band had their own time to shine.

The line of people waiting to enter the Colwell Playhouse after scanning in.
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Step Africa! : Drumfolk, a fine art portraying Resilience, and Reclamation

February 7, 2020 was a perfect Friday night at the Colwell Playhouse in Kranner Center for Performing Arts. A spectacular performance entitled “ Step Afrika ! : Drumfolk” shared the story that took place when South Carolina passed The Negro Act of 1740.

Written by Weon Taek Na

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