Somi's The Lagos Music Salon in an intimate self portrait of a rising star!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Intimate, organic and at times ethereal we find Somi's The Lagos Music Salon transcending genre and cultural boundaries to create a vocal journey unsurpassed in recent memory. This incredibly moving vocal narrative is a personal hybrid of the improvisational spirit, nu-soul and the cultural embodiment of her African heritage. The cumulative result of The Lagos Music Salon are layers of vocal texture and melodic wonder that at times defy traditional critical review.
The compositions here are centered around her experiences in Lagos. There is a smoldering soulful grandeur to her approach along with a decidedly Afro-pop sensibility that makes an appearance on "Lady Revisted" featuring Angelique Kidjo. A more western contemporary rap inflected "When Rivers Cry" showcases Common with the central theme of the on going problem of Africa's pollution. The sobering almost reverent "Last Song" is an emotive vehicle recalling her chance meeting with an individual that would tragically perish on the ill fated airline crash Dana 153. There is of course the obvious socially conscious vibe running throughout this release but the compositions lack the pretentiousness of others attempting such a recording. Honest, heart warming and sincere might be the best three word review one could give.
The musicians here are first rate and include Ambrose Akinmusire but it is Somi that carries this release to the next level. Inspirations are found from Nina Simone and Hugh Masekela but it is that rare artist that channels these influences into a personal voice that can touch millions.
One of the most impressive vocal releases in recent memory.
Coming Aug. 5th!