I’m not much into hip-hop, that I have to confess. I’m also not much of an expert in World-Music, though I deeply appreciate many African artists, like the late Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela or Youssou N’Dour – household names to us European mainstream festival visitors.
Only once in a while, I stumble across an artist that sticks… so it happened with Blitz the Ambassador:
From the YouTube Music Blog: “Live from Accra city, that’s my city, that’s beyond what they call gritty.” – When Chuck D gives a shout-out on your record (“It’s not where you from; it’s where you at….”), you could say you’ve made it as a hip-hop artist. Ghanaian-born Samuel Bazawule may not be a household name, but if his new album “Native Sun” is any indication, he should be. “Native Sun” is one of the most organic marriages of African music and hip-hop we’ve heard — an effortless release that incorporates Afrobeat, highlife and kora music into old-school hip-hop. It’s a warm and danceable record with a social conscience, and it speaks to anybody who’s lived between two cultures — as more and more of us do.
It doesn’t take much, to watch the full 45 minutes video stream… Because it is an amazing piece of art itself.
Drawing from his Ghanaian roots, Blitz and his band, The Embassy Ensemble, have created a musically dense journey from Ghana to Brooklyn. “Native Sun the album is a journey backwards, back through hip hop, the Caribbean soundsystem culture that preceded it, back to its African roots, with the final kora,” notes Blitz. “The film looks forward, to what could be. Both are about the longing for home we feel in the diaspora, and about letting go of old notions and embracing new ideas. The sound in itself speaks to that.” Blitz accompanies this mindblowing release with a short film with director Terence Nance as a companion expression for the album. Filmed in Ghana with a cast of 55, it maps the transformation of a boy from marginal village orphan to master of his destiny, with a poignancy and panache rarely seen in music videos.
Today is the 1st of May. In my hometown, this is a day for the celebration of the international community of the people… Couldn’t imagine a better video to do just that.