Jazz Night with Somi

Somi and her live band performed songs from her previous albums on the night of Valentine’s Day, filling us with feelings of love and inspiration at the Krannert Center.

Written by Grace Chen

In the seats of Colwell Playhouse, a theatre with great acoustics.

I couldn’t place the genre of music she was singing as it is something I do not typically listen to. However, if I had to describe it with my limited knowledge, I would say it was a mix between soul, jazz, and a light sprinkle of R&B. (I would not trust my judgment so take my analysis with a grain of salt.) Regardless of the type of music, I could tell that she was singing with all that she had. She has a beautiful and powerful voice that communicates her connection to the songs she was singing. I was drawn into her songs because of her presence on stage as she was always moving and she would occasionally dance along to the music. Some of her songs made me excited and others put me in a pensive mood. Overall, I thought it was a great performance even though I became slightly restless near the end.

During her performance, Somi would give background on the songs she sang and talk to the audience about her experiences. Those mini monologues added to the performance which made the songs more interesting to listen to. The lyrics would also make more sense since the audience knew a little about the inspiration for them. I couldn’t place her genre of music as they were songs I don’t typically listen to. But, the music required many live musicians to fully deliver on the experience of the music.

Musicians before the show tuning their instruments.

When the musicians would have solos, Somi would step to the side to place all the attention on the instrument. After they would finish their solo, she would seamlessly begin the vocals while thanking the musician at the same time by gesturing towards them. She respected the musicians and they respected her in turn on stage.

The most memorable song for me was the second to last song. She sang about how if she was singing her last song, whether her audience would listen closer and whether she would sing it in a different way. In a way, her lyrics worked on me and I remember her last song the most possibly because I decided to pay more attention to the words she was singing. I listened to her recorded version after the show and I thought that she sounded more passionate on stage. She made me think about how I should put as effort as I can into each project as if it’s my last just like how Somi would do if she knew she was singing her last song.

An empty stage.

You can listen to her most recent album, Petite Afrique, online or catch her on her tour. Her next album is coming out this summer!

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