Red Soil is worth checking out, even if soft jazz is not usually your thing.
Anyone who feels the urge to giggle at terribly earnest lyrics might be tempted to give this one a miss. "What will you learn? What will you teach? You are … a woman. You are … African", croons Somi, straight-faced, as a café jazz orchestra ba-ba-boops in the background. Don't abandon her yet, though, because there's more to the album than that. Coming from a mixed Rwandan-Ugandan background, she enlivens her crooning with peppery yips, and periodic descents into a deeper, matronly voice in the style of Miriam Makeba and other singers from the more southern parts of Africa. Her "African Lady" is not only a protest against black-on-black domestic violence it's also a lovely piece of musical wit -- an Afro-jazz, Afro-beat nod to Fela Kuti's "Lady", rounded out with saxophones and a Nigerian accent. "She gon say I be lady-o", she sings. She's pointing out that she's not the first musician to ask respect for the lady in your life, O African husbands. Her heart is in the right place too: she donates to the Rwandan Survivors Fund. Red Soil is worth checking out, even if soft jazz is not usually your thing.