Somi announces new album Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba

Grammy-nominated and internationally acclaimed vocalist Somi has announced that her new album will be released July 30.

Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba is the jazz singer’s celebration of the late South African singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba and her “invaluable musical contributions and messages of social justice.”

The album features Somi’s renditions of Makeba’s best-known songs — including both Makeba’s original compositions and covers— starting with the 1967 hit single Pata Pata.

The album’s guest artists include Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter, Nigerian musician Seun Kuti (the youngest son of Fela Kuti) and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo.

Regarded as one of Africa’s first international superstars, Makeba’s music encompassed Afropop, jazz and global sounds. She was politically exiled from her homeland of South Africa for three decades because of her anti-apartheid activism and was blacklisted in the United States after her marriage to civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael. Makeba’s music and character has been a lifelong inspiration for Somi.

“This album is my attempt to honour the unapologetic voice of an African woman who inevitably made room for my own journey and countless other African artists,” the singer says. “In short, I owe her. We all do.”

Somi will also pay tribute to Makeba with an original musical called Dreaming Zenzile. Written by and starring Somi and directed by Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruzthe, the theatre production is set to premiere later this year.

Somi’s last album Holy Room: Live at the Alte Oper was nominated for a Grammy Award and made JAZZ.FM91’s list of the best albums of 2020.

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Here’s the album’s full track list:

  1. Umhome
  2. House of the Rising Sun
  3. Milele (feat. Seun Kuti & Thandiswa Mazwai)
  4. Hapo Zamani
  5. Love Tastes Like Strawberries (feat. Gregory Porter)
  6. Khuluma (feat. Msaki)
  7. Pata Pata
  8. A Piece of Ground
  9. Kwedini
  10. Lakutshon’ilanga
  11. Olili
  12. Mbombela
  13. Jike’lemaweni (feat. Angelique Kidjo)
  14. Nonqonqo (feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
  15. Malaika
  16. Ring Bell, Ring Bell
  17. Mabhongo (feat. Nduduzo Makhathini)