The most powerful element of music is the ability to transcend language, culture, and even geography. Cameroon's Blick Bassy has been consistently inspiring with his native Bassa narratives and smooth compositions ever since his Akö debut in 2016. Today, he releases the much-anticipated follow-up album, 1958.
Dedicated to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobè and other war heroes of the Cameroon Independence, 1958 is a love ballad to the history of its people. "My album is a call, a cry from the heart to the new African generations so that they can rewrite their own history, through the celebration of the men and women who have laid the basic structure of our people." Bassy explains. Where you would expect to find darkness, there is abundant light. Where you would expect to hear anger, there is celestial calm. Tracks like "WOÑI" and "SANGO NGANDO" play like a tropical oasis soundtrack, lustrously cloaked in a gentle guitar melody and playful horns.
Leaning heavily on Latin influences, Bassy creates an instrumentally-clad soundscape rich in texture and drenched in emotion. You don't have to speak the language in order to be moved by his evocative storytelling, swaying rhythmically to the soulful beat. "LIPÉM", however, stands out from the rest of the album. It is strengthened by a throbbing electronic bass-line, giving the overall composition a darker aura. Yet, Bassy's vocals remain compassionate, giving his story a more dominant platform to stand on.
Emotionally-driven and beautifully delivered, 1958 is a reminder to us all of what happens when music meets culture. Bassy will be taking this story on the road this summer to select cities, which you can check out below.
June 27th - International Jazz Festival, Montreal, QC
June 28th - International Jazz Festival, Montreal, QC
June 29th - International Jazz Festival, Vancouver, BC
June 30th - SummerStage, New York City, NY