Video

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

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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