Laura Kabasomi Kakoma, better known as Somi, provides a striking combination of art and activism in her own brand of slinky, story-telling jazz that incorporates traditional African elements.
Somi interacted with each of her band members individually in the form of either a solo performance for the member or a duet between the two. Her frequent interactions with the band gave the performance an informal tone, open for a conversation between the artists and the audience. While the audience’s participation in this conversation was mostly metaphorical, Somi seized the opportunity to speak about herself, her beliefs, and issues facing the African and African-American community both conversationally and lyrically.
Somi performed a style of slower, story-telling jazz infused with traditional African nuances. In just one show, Somi was able to use her music to describe many issues facing African-Americans and women around the world. The story-telling element of her music allows her to capture the essence of the common person’s struggle and emotion. This connection elicits similar emotional responses in the audience, empathizing with those who share the strife portrayed in the music while simultaneously providing a lens of understanding for those who may never experience such confrontation.
Following Somi’s performance, the auditorium erupted in praise. After such a powerful performance, one can not help but to try to relive their favorite moment of it. For me, that moment was her song “Two Dollar Day” which follows the story of a widowed mother in Nigeria after the government protests over oil. This was such a tremendously powerful song because it reminded me of the struggle that single parents all around the world and in the U.S. face on a daily basis. “Two Dollar Day” is a beautiful tribute the countless sacrifices that single parents make.
The performers of Step Afrika! gave an unforgettable performance that allowed the audience to reflect on the history of America through the cultural significance of the beat.
Written by Grace Chen
Step Afrika performed their new show Drumfolk on Friday, February 7th at the Colwell Playhouse in the Krannert Center of Performing Arts. The performers captured the attention of the audience with its exciting beats and eye-catching dance moves. They also told the history of black Americans and the fight for their rights.
The class has really allowed myself to explore my more creative side and really take a moment to more or less think about myself and devote time to myself where it has given me a sort of curiosity that hadn’t been there for some time.
The first performance I went to was a performance by Buddy Guy and his band. I did not know of him before, but I definitely can’t forget his name now. He brought an energy that was fitting for his legacy in the jazz world. I was completely encaptivated with his ability to control the auditorium. Not to mention, his technical skills were amazing and he did a good job with having a conversation with the audience. In the end, his passion was what stuck out to me.
As ready as I am for the upcoming semester to begin, I’m going to be very sad to leave behind FAA 110. Anyone of my peers has heard me talk about this class at least eight times because I enjoyed it so much. Having a class that was more focused on making me think about the different parts that go into performance and had very little work to go with it was very good for my mental health and the first semester of my college career.
I have seen so many great shows and museum exhibits this semester and I don’t want to say goodbye!
Written by Catherine Webber
At the beginning of this semester, I was at a bit of a crossroads. I had come back from summer knowing that I wanted to switch from Early Childhood Education to something else. I just knew that wasn’t what I wanted anymore. Therefore, I drastically dropped all my classes and switched to English, which I now love. However, with my change I had to pick up more hours and I just didn’t know what class to take. I went around asking friends and they all recommended one class to me: FAA 110. They said I would be able to see awesome shows for free on-campus and be exposed to so many new and different things, safe to say: I was sold. I have really enjoyed this class this semester and can’t wait to come back next semester and see more great and thought-provoking shows and exhibits.