Somi's Reimagination of Miriam Makeba comes to The State Theatre

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Musicians Thandiswa Mazwai and Somi perform at The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba event at The Apollo Theater on March 19, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Shahar Azran/Getty Images)
Musicians Thandiswa Mazwai and Somi perform at The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba event at The Apollo Theater on March 19, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Shahar Azran/Getty Images)
  • Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba, is a celebration of the late performance artist and activist. 
  • On the heels of a triumphant premiere at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, Somi has brought the project home to South Africa.
  • Somi says, "It was so important for me to bring this project honouring Mama Miriam back to the very place she called home."

Grammy-nominated vocalist Somi unveiled her new album Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba on 4 March. The fifth studio record from the East African singer-songwriter honours the late South African artist and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba. The album's release date marked what would have been Makeba's 90th birthday. 

Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba, is a celebration of the late Makeba's invaluable musical contributions and messages of social justice. The album features Somi’s renditions of some of Makeba's best-known songs.

On the heels of a triumphant album celebration at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City, Somi is looking forward to bringing the project home to South Africa. Set to take place at The State Theatre, the show will feature Thandiswa Mazwai, Msaki, Nduduzo Makhatini, and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse. 

Says Somi about her show at The State Theatre in Pretoria: "It was so important for me to bring this project honoring Mama Miriam back to the very place she called home. I'm deeply indebted to so many South African artists and friends who have held my hand through and to this moment. 

"From early conversations with uBabu' Hugh Masekela when I started thinking about making this project seven years ago to the generous offerings of the South African special guests on the album who stand firmly in her lineage and have taught me so much through their own work. In small and large ways, so many people have supported, taught, and reminded me of how her voice and legacy was and is truly Pan-African. That homegrown South African support is what gave me courage to try to locate her voice inside of my own and I am deeply grateful."  

Hailed for her "African grooves, supple jazz singing and compassionate social consciousness … both serious and seductive" by The New York Times, Somi is known for her wide-ranging vocal technique and her original blend of modern jazz with African music styles. The multi-faceted singer, songwriter, playwright, and actor of Rwandan and Ugandan descent has built a career of transatlantic storytelling to give voice to issues of social justice, transnationalism, womanhood, and global constructions of Blackness.

Regarded as one of Africa's first international superstars, Makeba (whose given name is 'Zenzile') elevated the spirit of a continent, including her native South Africa. Her courage, however, was met with three decades of political exile from her homeland, followed by blacklisting in the United States after her marriage to civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael. Somi's lifelong love of Makeba’s music and personal strength led to a record that she hopes will inspire a celebratory reflection on Makeba's life and work.

Somi adds, "This album is my attempt to honor the unapologetic voice of an African woman who inevitably made room for my journey and countless other African artists. In short, I owe her. We all do."

The South African premiere of Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba will take place on 27 March at The State Theatre. Tickets cost from R275 to R500 and can be purchased from Webtickets.      

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24