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Often compared to the likes of Nina Simone, Sade Adu, Miriam Makeba, Dianne Reeves, and Sarah Vaughan, Somi’s music relentlessly evokes all that is pure, honest, and true. Born in Illinois to Rwandese and Ugandan parents, the young songwriter, vocalist, and playwright performs in international venues and festivals around the globe including Jazz at Lincoln Center (NYC), the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (DC), La Cigale (Paris), and Amohoro Stadium (Kigali). With the release of her sophomore album Red Soil In My Eyes (Harmonia Mundi/World Village, 2007), Somi has been profiled in numerous media including CNN International, BBC World, National Public Radio, TV 5 Monde, VH1, MTV Africa, and BET. She has also has shared the stage with the likes of Paul Simon, Cassandra Wilson, John Legend, Hugh Masekela, Les Nubians, Amel Laurrieux, Idan Raichel, Randy Weston, and Harry Belafonte. The talented young artist also holds a Master’s degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Performance Studies and, in 2006, helped the Rwanda Ministry of Culture to organize The 5th Pan-African Festival of Dance in Kigali, Rwanda, while consulting for the United Nations Development Programme’s International Conference on Creative Economies for Development. In the Spring of 2008, Somi’s multimedia theater piece Listening to Roots and Voicing Branches: Transnational Freedom Songs of the Black Atlantic premiered at the historic Apollo Theater as part of their annual Salon Series. Somi recently received an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as an emerging songwriter, and she was a finalist for her original song Ingele in the prestigious BMI John Lennon Songwriting Competition. She is currently working on her next album scheduled for release in October 2009 on the progressive ObliqSound label.
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