We love a good collaboration and that is what New York-based Ugandan/Rwandan songstress Somi is giving us as she readies the release of her debut album The Lagos Music Salon for Sony Music’s OKeh Records. While we await the album, Somi features Common, American artiste on a new song called “When Rivers Cry”.
“When Rivers Cry,” is the second single off that upcoming album and was written on the day Kenyan Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai — a champion of environmental protection, women’s rights, and political activism — died. Somi explained to The Wall Street Journal,“I was in Lagos on that day and couldn’t help but reflect on the pollution that plagues most major African cities… ‘When Rivers Cry’ is meant to be a rumination on Africa’s environmental past, present and future. Obviously, these issues are a part of a global conversation—that’s why I decided to invite Common to collaborate on the song. His verse reminds us of the responsibility and thoughtfulness we all owe to this earth—no matter where we are from.”
The single kicks off with an intricately-arranged orchestral intro that flows into Somi’s somber and piano-backed refrains about environmental issues across Africa, with Common joining in for his verse around the 3-minute mark. East African songbird Somi uses whimsical songwriting, the essence of jazz and soul, and the richness of her African heritage to create a sound all her own.
Somi’s The Lagos Music Salon, due August 5, is available for pre-order now.