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Jazz singer to bring international talent to the Carver Center

Chris Schwagga

The Carver Community Cultural Center is presenting a jazz singer of international repute this Saturday night. She goes by the name of Somi, and her music seems to have grown out of two dominating influences.

“I think that my music is a conversation between jazz and the African continent. I am originally from half Rwanda, half Uganda, but grew up mostly in Illinois,” Somi said. “Somewhere between Jazz and Africa, whatever that means to everyone.”

Somi - Last Song

In fact, her whole identity seems to move fluidly between and across borders. And that identity was perhaps shaped a little by a giant in African music.

“My great mentor, the late Hugh Masekela once said to me that, as musicians, we are global citizens,” she said.

Somi’s travels are part-n-parcel to her music and she extracts artistic inspiration from each of those journeys.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

“I spent five months traveling to Senegal, Rwanda and Nigeria earlier this year for the first five months of the year. [My] home is sort of in the Rainbows at the moment,” Somi laughed.

She’s also a writer, having penned a play on African musician Miriam Makeba, that she’ll be starring in.

We'll be back in rehearsals and as it journeys toward off Broadway in New York this summer. It's been an extraordinary journey into the life and legacy of an extraordinary woman and artist and activist and voice,” she said.

Chris Schwagga

Here in San Antonio on Saturday night she will be joined onstage by her long-time three-piece live band. Given the 18 months of pandemic-related stage absences, she says the band is more than a little ready.

“I think that we are coming with a ferocious appetite for performance to get back into the music of things,” Somi said. “And so I think people will enjoy what those musicians do on stage.”

Tickets are available through the Carver website.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii