Born to parents from Rwanda and Uganda, vocalist and songwriter Somi felt at home when she moved to Harlem’s vibrant immigrant community known as “Little Africa.” Petite Afrique: The Other Black in Harlem is a song cycle inspired by the historic uptown neighborhood where passersby can find ornate traditional fabrics, Francophone bibles, palm oil and shea butter, tribes of fast-fingered hair braiders, and the city’s best Senegalese fare. Over the past decade, however, gentrification has begun to change the makeup of the neighborhood and erase its cultural footprints. With this album, Somi hopes to ensure that the stories and struggles of New York City’s largest African community do not disappear untold. Widely regarded as both artist and scholar, Somi is a TED Senior Fellow, an Association of Performing Arts Presenters Fellow, and former Artist-in-Residence at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. The Huffington Post calls Somi, “the new Nina Simone,” and The New York Times says, “Somi’s songs gracefully fuse African-tinged grooves, supple jazz singing and compassionate social consciousness; they’re both serious and seductive.”

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