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Still from "Woñi" (Youtube)

Watch Blick Bassy's Striking New Video For 'Woñi'

PREMIERE: The new music video focuses on the continuing strains of neocolonialism in Cameroon and the need for escape through vice.

Blick Bassy is readying the release of his new album, 1958, a follow-up to 2015's Akö.

The modern Cameroonian griot's new full-length follows Bassy as he delivers striking tributes to those who fought for Cameroon's independence, like anti-colonialist leader Ruben Um Nyobè, and the search for true identity, all sung in the Bassa language.

His new album title, 1958, marks the year that Um Nyobè was murdered by the French army after leading the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC).

Today, we're premiering the Cameroonian songwriter's beautiful and reflective new music video for "Woñi," which focuses on the continuing strains of neocolonialism and the need for escape through vices like alcohol.

"When people are disconnected and cut off from their history, imbalance and emptiness set in, leaving room for fear," Bassy tells OkayAfrica. "Vice becomes the only means of survival. This is what is happening to my people, who are just trying to survive. Some turn to alcohol as escape."


"I would like to talk about the feeling of fear that prevailed and still prevails around our colonial history, that contributed to the development of the tribal clichés, and that, today, alters our country," the artist also mentions. "That is also because of that fear that nobody dares to stand up to demonstrate or to fight for our freedom. My family grew up in fear. Men, women and children live in fear, and to exist, this beautiful community is getting drunk with alcohol, with fear, uprooted, under the astounded eyes of the ancestors."

Watch our premiere of "Woñi" below. Blick Bassy's 1958 album is out tomorrow June 21 via No Format/Tôt ou Tard/IDOL.

Blick Bassy - Woñi (Official video) youtu.be

Interview
Photo: Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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