‘Dreaming Zenzile’ honors the music and legacy of Miriam Makeba

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Honesty — that’s what jazz singer Somi Kakoma aspires to with her latest project. The Grammy-nominated artist has been working to bring her first play, “Dreaming Zenzile,” to fruition for years.

The narrative centers on the late vocalist and anti-apartheid activist Zenzile Miriam Makeba and uses Makeba’s final concert in Castel Volturno, Italy, as an entry point. The show, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, stars Kakoma as Makeba and opens at Arts Emerson on Feb. 23. The production features a live jazz band playing original music and reinterpretations of Makeba’s repertoire. In the story, “the ancestors are calling Makeba and transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation.”

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