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Sun Spots: Somi Shines

Just hangin' around!

 Somi was Somethin' Special! 

Typically, as I upload an event relating to a musical performance, I'll listen to some of the performer's music as I work.  As soon as I heard Somi, I knew I had to attend her concert - and she did not disappoint! 

I would describe Somi's sound as jazzy, influenced by African rhythms.  In fact, it occurs to me that her CD "If the Rains Come First" (which, I am unashamed to admit, I have worn completely thin!) is reminiscent of "Princesses Nubiennes" by Les Nubians - very seductive!  "If the Rains Come First," the thirty-one-year-old's third CD, debuted at #2 on Billboard Magazine's World Music Chart.  Her voice is sultry and smooth and she exudes elegance and confidence. 

Grainy photo, GREAT performance!

Somi was born in Champaign, Illinois to parents from Rwanda and Uganda.  With the exception of a few early years spent in Zambia, Somi remained in Illinois through 1998 and currently lives in New York.  Somi is definitely someone who is on the rise and kudos to Sound Culture and the HotHouse for bringing Somi to her first Chicago performance! 

As for the venue, the Shrine, that's a whole different story.  I had been to the Shrine once before and was pretty determined not to return - and I hope I don't feel compelled to return again.  The venue itself is nice, although its Chuck E. Cheese-ish stage is a little odd.  My biggest issue with the Shrine is that its business practices are geared toward youth who get their "swag" from a very superficial VIP status.  Here's the set-up:  the bar is expansive, but there is not a single bar stool;  there are high-boys on the main floor, but no cocktail tables or chairs; there are two roped-off seating areas that are reserved for "bottle service" only.  Bottle service?  Yes - for $200 you can have a $30 bottle of liquor and be a Very Important Person.  Grown folk don't go for that kind of foolishness - regardless of our wealth.  For the hard-core partiers, I still think the practice is pretty silly, but, whatever.  However, for the Somi performance, it was completely inappropriate and no one (except for family) sat in the otherwise empty "VIP" section.  Ordinarily, given the length of this performance, I may have had 2 or 3 cocktails.  In this case, I refused to have even one - purely on principle.  Be warned:  even at a laid back performance geared toward a mature crowd, the Shrine is standing room only.   But, don't let 'em bully you into a bottle. 

Soleil's To-Dos

Reader Comments (2)

thanks for introducing me to this artist. (Somi) . I am on a quest to find out the best beautiful music in the world....especially from Africa

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbarbara

It’s a pleasure! You might also want to check out Nneka at Double Door on 3/21 (!

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoleil!

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