20/03/2019Blick Bassy's 4th Album Pays Tribute To Cameroonian Freedom Fighter Um Nyobé

Based in France, Cameroonian singer and songwriter Blick Bassy just released his fourth album "1958", which follows on the heels of his acclaimed previous album "Akö". His latest eleven track strong oeuvre is a resounding tribute to Cameroonian anti-colonialist freedom fighter Ruben Um Nyobé, who was killed by French forces in 1958.  

With his haunting yet soothing falsetto voice Blick Bassy calmly honours a man, whose name and legacy are rarely mentioned in modern-day Cameroon. In an interview with South Africa's "Mail & Guardian", Bassy recalls: "When I was in school, in our books, Ruben Um Nyobé was a terrorist, you know." Not too long ago, even mentioning Um Nyobé's name or that of his fellow UPC (Union des populations de Cameroun) activists could lead to imprisonment. 

"When you see what's happening in our country today, as well as in other African countries, it seems obvious that we've skipped at least one essential stage in our development, the stage of reconnecting with ourselves, our history and our values. We are striving to build our nations on foreign structures that have nothing to do with our ecosystem. Structures that have been imposed on us without our consent and that define various economic, educational, political and cultural models that in no way correspond to our needs or hopes for emancipation,"  Bassy points out in an interview with "Quotidien Mutations". 

On "1958" Blick Bassy sets out to explore Cameroon's forgotten history and give a name to those, who sacrificed their lives for their country's independence. As such, the album seeks to remind Cameroonian's today of their heritage, while also placing an emphasis on more universal themes, including "the bondage of neo-colonialism, the need for heroes, the relevance of history and the search for true identity."

Blick Bassy's work is subversively captivating. Far from inciting hate, sorrow or remorse "1958" is a beautiful call to action, with a sound both contemporary and rich in tradition. Watch the impressive companion videos to "Woñi" here and "Ngwa" below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom