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Somi Pays Tribute to Miriam Makeba

Through a new album and off-Broadway musical, singer Somi is channeling the work of ‘Mama Africa’ herself, Miriam Makeba. Called ‘Dreaming Zenzile,’ the new works resurface Makeba’s given name and attempt to give expression to the personality behind the music. Set during what was to be Makeba’s final performance in Italy in 2008, “Dreaming Zenzile” finds Somi imagining that would-be last concert and, in those final moments, Makeba reconciling her storied past life with the present day. “I was really curious about this idea of what she was carrying privately… You could decide to see the tragic side of it, the fact that she wasn’t home, or you could decide to just be at a concert. I always think about the kind of loneliness that she moved through while operating in this kind of upper echelon of society and culture and politics, in this kind of singular, Black female, African immigrant body.” Somi says.