Blick Bassy will release a new album, 1958, on March 8, following his acclaimed 2015 release, Akö. 1958 is a defiant tribute to the heroes who fought and died for the independence of Bassy's native Cameroon. A tender and soulful selection of songs, the album is sung in Bassa, Blick’s ancestral language. Bassy is trailing the album announcement with lead single ‘Ngwa’, which arrives via this stunning video. Blick will return for his first UK show in two years at London’s St Pancras Old Church on March 11.
1958 is dedicated to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobé, the anti-colonialist leader of the Popular Union of Cameroon (UPC), who was shot dead by French troops on September 13 1958, two years before the country became independent. The UPC had been campaigning for fifteen years, during which time many people died, something which has been subtly annihilated from history by the French and Cameroonian state until recently.
Um Nyobé, like Blick, was from the Bassa region and ethnic group, known, after many years of displacement and exploitation by European traders to be anti-colonialist. Blick wants to shed light on his story, saying; “In school we studied the French version of what happened. The way I learned it in the books was that they were agitators, troublemakers. Which is wrong. Um Nyobé was in this movement hidden in the mountains, organising the Cameroonian People’s Union, and the truth about what happened has never been out.”
The new video for ‘Ngwa’ has been shot in the breathtaking scenery of South Africa’s Lesotho, with direction from fast-rising South African talent Tebogo Malope (also named Tebza). A recipient of the Cannes Gold Lion prize, Malope was also recently behind the ambitious video for Kwesta track ‘Spirit’, which has clocked over four million views to date. A meditation on the relationship between present-day Cameroon and its former French colonisers, Malope’s affecting visuals capture Blick embodying not only the spirit of Um Nyobé the man, but also the Cameroonian nation, and their intrinsic cultural identity.
Speaking about what drove him to write ‘Ngwa’ - which translates in English to ‘my friend’ - for Um Nyobé, Blick says; “Ngwa, I wanted to pay tribute to your fight, our fight, but also to your philosophy, where the values of equality, antiracism, anti xenophobia, serve emancipation and fulfilment for every human being.”
1958 track listing
Bès Na Wé
Where We Go