Somi - If the Rains Come First (2009)

Somi
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The cooing charm in Somi's vocals and the seductive, trance-like ease of her silky jazz approach to world fusion music will set off listeners' cozy inner vibes. To say the least, it's inviting and comforting, reminiscent of the Zen music backgrounds of small boutiques. Unfortunately, too many tracks on If the Rain Comes First sounds like a continuation of the other - sucking dry listener aspirations of any new mood changers. Still, if one prefers meditative lounge jazz, Somi rarely disappoints. The Hugh Masekela duet, "Enganjyani," reveals the legendary trumpeter-a fan of Somi's-serenading in the background, creating a Mo' Better Blues euphoria as the singer floats in and out with her bilingual lyrics.

The cooing charm in Somi's vocals and the seductive, trance-like ease of her silky jazz approach to world fusion music will set off listeners' cozy inner vibes. To say the least, it's inviting and comforting, reminiscent of the Zen music backgrounds of small boutiques. Unfortunately, too many tracks on If the Rain Comes First sounds like a continuation of the other - sucking dry listener aspirations of any new mood changers. Still, if one prefers meditative lounge jazz, Somi rarely disappoints. The Hugh Masekela duet, "Enganjyani," reveals the legendary trumpeter-a fan of Somi's-serenading in the background, creating a Mo' Better Blues euphoria as the singer floats in and out with her bilingual lyrics. Somi's bluesy jazz, isolated from the heavy gallop of R&B beats, matches her woozy, laid-back voice, particularly on the brooding title track and  the java jam, "Wallflower Blues." Probably the biggest surprise throughout the album is the opener, "Hot Blue," which may be Sade-inspired, but it brews like classic Bob James. On other tracks, Somi does a passable job merging her South African ( Rwanda and Uganda ) roots with sensible, acoustic neo-soul. Her work will probably remain obscure to the ears of pop purists who prefer trends, but people searching for a more subdued India.Arie and a good night's sleep, will embrace the sweet textures of Somi's music.

Notable tracks: "Enganjyani," "Hot Blue," "Wallflower Blues," and "Be Careful, Be Kind"

Vocals: 2.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Music: 2.5 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call: Recommended

By J. Matthew Cobb

 
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