Sampa The Great - The Return
Sampa The Great creates a sense of home on her debut album - “The Return”. A characterful record, its reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. Built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, it’s an assured statement, the product of meaningful musical connections and of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends.
Building on her formative works, “The Return” sees Sampa tackle bigger questions, exploring what it means to feel at home, to feel excluded, and to see someone as an outsider. It stems from the rift Sampa has experienced in the rise of her career, where she’s celebrated as part of a new generation of Australian musicians while at the same time still being seen as an other. The album artwork features Sampa alongside a Nyau dancer - traditional dancers and figures that are found in villages across parts of Africa. For Sampa, the dancer represents the fear of the unknown which is often projected by the West when it comes to African traditions. She also wanted to rediscover her ancestors’ spirituality: her mother’s side of the family are of the Bantu ethnicity from which the Nyau tradition originates.
The themes behind the album are addressed head on in title track ‘The Return’. At the close of the track, Whosane’s lyrics refer to “returning to the self of my self”. This, for Sampa, is what she’s been trying to do for the past six years: to find new ways of feeling at home and rediscover an emboldened idea of herself. "Home is described in a lot of ways and means a lot of different things to different people,” she says. “I had to redefine in my mind and in my spirit what home means.” The album is both a re-telling of that journey, and the realisation of her aim; the album walks us through that return to home, while the accomplished sound and lyricism underscores the steps she’s made as a person and artist.
1. Mwana (feat. Mwanje Tembo, Theresa Mutale Tembo, Sunburnt Soul Choir)
3. Wake Up (Interlude)
4. Time’s Up (feat. Krown)
5. Grass Is Greener
6. Dare To Fly (feat. Ecca Vandal)
7. Any Day (feat. Whosane)
9. Light It Up (Interlude)
10. Final Form
11. Heaven (feat. Whosane)
12. Diamond In The Ruff (feat. Thando, Krown)
13. Leading Us Home
14. Summer (feat. Steam Down)
15. Brand New (feat. SILENTJAY)
16. Give Love (Interlude)
17. The Return (feat. Thando, Jace XL, Alien, Whosane)
18. Don’t Give Up (feat. Mandarin Dreams)
19. Made Us Better (feat. Blue Lab Beats, Boadi, Lori)
Artist: Sampa The Great
Label: Ninja Tune
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: ZEN258I
Released: 13th September 2019
Indies exclusive on 140g red and 140g green double vinyl inspired by the colours of the Zambian flag.