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
Somi engaged with audiences in a really relaxed way. She born in Champaign, and you can feel that she really enjoys this homecoming performance. She swings her hand at the very beginning to say hello to the audiences just like meeting a “long time no see friend”. Actually, her family and lots of friends from the school presented in the show to support her. Also, when she showed up to the stage, you can find that she did not wear her shoes and that is one way you can notice her relaxation from bare feet. Moreover, at the brief break between songs in the show, she will introduce the background story behind the songs to help us know more about her songs and her soft and gentle voice will make you feel like you are talking with an old friend.
Without doubts, Somi is the brightest star of that night, but she always signals audiences to applaud for her band. For example, when her piano performer playing a solo that shows his wonderful skills, Somi will point to him and appeal to audiences to give hearty applause. In addition, at the very end of the performance, she introduced all the performers to the audiences with their names.
As for what type of songs did she sing and how did they evoke different moods or feelings, you can understand why she won the Outstanding Jazz Award. Her songs are always full of stories, by listening to her music, you can imagine an African immigrant in Harlem in New York City, an exotic family moved to America, and an American American female tries to create a new vision of music. Also, audiences could feel the changes in her feeling by the changes in her beat: Peaceful to passionate and slow beat to intensive beat.
My favorite moment of the night
My favorite moment of the night is her encores show. After the last song of her official performance, all the audiences stand up and applaud to Somi and her band, it is so heartily that they still keep clapping their hands even all the performers left. Thus, as the result of such warm send-off, Somi and Otis (her drum performer) returned to the stage and give us another song to end the show. It is a touched and unforgettable interaction between her and audiences that everyone heartfeltly loves her performance.