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