Jazz Singer-Songwriter Vocal African

In her latest album, “Zenzile”: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba", vocalist & songwriter Somi blends modern jazz, soul, and African groove. The album is a celebratory meditation on legendary South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba. The songs on the album include beautiful & fresh arrangements of some of Makeba’s most beloved repertoire through the jazz idiom and features special guests from both South Africa and the United States. Ultimately, this release serves as a soulful homage to Makeba’s extraordinary legacy and monumental contribution to African popular music and global jazz. Zenzile's premiere was at the Apollo Theatre, with non-other than Dianne Reeves.

The album is part of a bigger project inspired by the life & legacy of Miriam Makeba, that also includes a modern jazz theatre piece called “Dreaming Zenzile” written by Somi, which made its' broadway premiere last spring. Described by The New York Times as “a virtuosic performer in full command of her instrument and powers,” Somi celebrated the release of “Zenzile” and “Dreaming Zenzile”: with a historic concert at the legendary Apollo Theater in commemoration of what would have been Makeba’s 90th birthday.

Vocalist, composer, and playwright Somi Kakoma was born in Illinois to immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda. NPR describes her as "an ambitious artist and superb jazz singer who creates an elegant amalgam of her bi-continental experiences." Both albums were nominated for an ECHO Award in Germany for Best International Jazz Vocalist. Somi has played at prestigious venues & festivals in Europe such as Cologne Philharmonic, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Montreux Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival and many more. Closely mentored by legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela, Somi has forged her own path as an artist, scholar, and activist.


  • Somi, John Beasley, Ben Williams: "House of the Rising Sun" | International Jazz Day 2023
    Somi, John Beasley, Ben Williams: "House of the Rising Sun" | International Jazz Day 2023
  • Pata Pata
    Pata Pata
  • Love Tastes Like Strawberries
    Love Tastes Like Strawberries
  • Somi "Holy Room"
    Somi "Holy Room"
  • Somi - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival - "Brown Round Things"
    Somi - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival - "Brown Round Things"
Von unerhört bauchig-kehligen Tiefen bis zu ätherischen Höhen weiß die Vokalistin ihre faszinierenden Mittel sehr bewusst einzusetzen und veredelte so auch ein unendlich langsames und trauriges Sting-Cover: „I‘m an African in New York“.
Saarbrücker Zeitung, 09.24.2019
"Somi: A New High Priestess of Soul."
"Somi ist eine faszinierende Jazzsängerin auf dem Niveau einer Dianne Reeves (...)"
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10.06.2017
"Eine Stimme wie poliertes Ebenholz, sehr edel klingend. Und wenn sie in die Bruststimme wechselt, klingt es warm und sinnlich. Einen enormen Tonumfang hat sie übrigens, kann von der Bassestiefe mühelos bis in höchste Höhen schwingen."
Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, 10.04.2017
„Wenn sie „Brown Round Things“ anstimmt, eine hauchzarte, bittersüße Ballade über die Prostitution, oder das auf Suaheli vorgetragene Liebeslied „Ingele“, dann trifft sie als Geschichtenerzählerin mitten ins Herz.“
Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba
Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba
Salon Africana
Pétite Afrique
Pétite Afrique
Okeh Records/Sony Music
Line up

Voice: Somi
Guitar: Liberty Ellman
Piano: Toru Dodo
Acoustic & Electric Bass: Ben Williams
Drums: Otis Brown III
Sax: Linda Sikhakhane




2024 July, November
2025 summer, spring
Ibrahim Bilen
Ibrahim Bilen
Head of A&R Jazz, Booking Agent / +49 30 26 103 29 22
Luis Schlag
Luis Schlag
Production & PR

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