Known in the jazz world simply as ‘Somi’, Somi Kakoma has built a career of transatlantic storytelling. She recently released a live album called ‘Holy Room’, featuring the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. The album earned her a 2021 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, making her the first African woman ever nominated in any of the Grammy jazz categories. The album is also nominated for a 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Vocal Album.
Mentored by the legendary trumpet player Hugh Masekela, Somi’s live performance was described by JazzTimes magazine as “the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves,” while Billboard exclaims that she’s “all elegance and awe… utterly captivating.” Also a playwright, Somi was named a Sundance Theatre Fellow for her original musical “Dreaming Zenzile” about the great South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba.