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Somi Continues To Carry The Day

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Saturday April 29, 2017

From All About Jazz

Somi: Petite Afrique
By: Dan Bilawsky

In addressing life along 116th Street, Somi opens eyes to the cultural ideals and struggles associated with the working class immigrants that reside there while also touching on broader social issues. As with its predecessor, Afrocentric thoughts dominate. But New York, not Nigeria, is the scene for these stories.

The album opens with modern field recordings and subway sounds that track toward “Alien,” Somi’s brilliant repurposing of Sting’s “Englishman In New York.” While Sting used it to lightheartedly play British standards against American society, Somi uses it as a more somber and serious vehicle to express issues of xenophobia and isolation felt by the African community in America. It’s but one of many instances where cool musical foundations support heavy issues.

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