Riding hot on the heels of her performance at Glastonbury 2022, Sampa The Great has dropped an alluring new single titled ‘Never Forget’ – for which she linked up with fellow Zambian artists Chef 187, Tio Nason and Mwanjé – and revealed the details for her forthcoming second album.
In a press release, Sampa described ‘Never Forget’ as “an ode to Zamrock music, a genre born in the ’70s combining traditional Zambian music and psychedelic rock”. More specifically, the song was inspired by music focused on the kalindula, a traditional style of bass guitar that features prominently on ‘Never Forget’.
Expounding on how the song honours Zamrock and the kalindula, Sampa continued: “This tribute was inspired by the band WITCH and their lead singer, Mr Jagari Chanda, who has become one of my musical mentors. I discovered Zamrock later in my life and was surprised that this music was known globally, yet not fully celebrated and acknowledged in Zambia today.
“It hit home for me as I felt similarities in my own journey, having had my career take off outside my birth country. I thought it was fitting to pay homage to those who came before me and merge past, present and future through music and imagery; passing the baton from one generation to the next.”
‘Never Forget’ arrives alongside a cinematic video helmed by directors Rharha Nembhard, Imraan Christian and Furmaan Ahmed (the former two of whom also directed the video for Sampa’s last single, the Denzel Curry-assisted ‘Lane’). It intersperses footage of Sampa and her collaborators performing with archival clips of Zambian life in the 1970s.
Among the visuals shown is footage of the late Paul Ngozi – one of the most eminent pioneers in the Zamrock genre – as well as Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, and classic performances from WITCH. Have a look at the video below:
In his own statement, Nembhard said the video’s concept “pays homage to [Zambia’s] past, present and future”. He continued: “When I first heard the song, the notion of time came up so strongly. African time has always been non linear and cyclical.
“The vision for this video was to explore that notion of time, merging past, present and future simultaneously in a harmonious symphony that honours and pays respect to those that have passed the baton and paved the way for the the next generation of Zambian artists. Sampa carries the past, present and future of Zambian music. She stands on the shoulders of giants and this our offering to them.”
Christian echoed the sentiment, saying he, Nembhard and Ahmed “explored our own lineages within mystic traditions, which ultimately inspired a lot of the visuals seen”. He also noted that some of the video’s themes were carried over from the narrative that he and Nembhard established in the clip for ‘Lane’, such as Sampa embodying her “ideal persona”, Eve.
Ahmed, meanwhile, said working on the clip for ‘Never Forget’ was “an incredibly cathartic experience as it was a nod to the iconoclasm of our shared cultures, heritage and bloodlines that have been erased over time”.
He continued: “At its heart, ‘Never Forget’ is an homage to the strength, resilience and magic of the diaspora, the veneration of time and in particular Sampa’s Zambian heritage. Set inside a world birthing itself from a dark ancestral monument, we invoke the past to imagine new futures. ‘Never Forget’ is a ritualistic unearthing and a celebration of our heritages and the power of music in liberation.”
Announced alongside the release of ‘Never Forget’, Sampa’s long-awaited second album is titled ‘As Above, So Below’ and will be released on September 9 via Loma Vista.
In addition to ‘Never Forget’ and ‘Lane’, the album will sport a collaboration with WITCH themselves (‘Can I Live’), a second track featuring Mwanjé, who is also Sampa’s sister (‘Lo Rain’), and further team-ups with Joey Bada$$ (‘Mask On’), Kojey Radical (‘IDGAF’), James Sakala (‘Imposter Syndrome’) and Angélique Kidjo (‘Let Me Be Great’).
It comes as the follow-up to Sampa’s debut album, 2019’s ‘The Return’, as well as 2017’s ‘Birds And The BEE9’ mixtape and ‘Heroes Act 2’ EP. Check out the cover art and tracklisting for ‘As Above, So Below’ below, and find pre-orders for the album here.
2. ‘Lane’ (ft. Denzel Curry)
3. ‘Never Forget’ (ft. Chef 187, Tio Nason and Mwanjé)
4. ‘Mask On’ (ft. Joey Bada$$)
6. ‘Can I Live’ (ft WITCH)
7. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ (ft. James Sakala)
9. ‘Lo Rain’ (ft. Mwanjé)
10. ‘IDGAF’ (ft. Kojey Radical)
11. ‘Let Me Be Great’ (ft. Angélique Kidjo)