Blick Bassy brought his 1958 album tour to a conclusion at Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room. And it was a special night.
The year 1958 has a special meaning for Blick Bassy. Colonized by Portugal, then Germany and later the UK and France, his native country Cameroon has had a rough ride.
In part he was here to remind us of the history of a far off land and a country many of us will have little connection.
Blick’s 2019 album, entitled, simply 1958.
That was the year Cameroon finally managed to gain its independence and recognition as an autonomous state.
The Bassa people were instrumental in the struggle, and ultimate success.
Without that (admittedly brief) precis of what happened, Blick assured us he would not have been here tonight. It simply wouldn’t have been possible.
Hence the recognition of 1958 as a marker.
There were just the two on stage, Blick and the amazing trumpet playing, keyboard wizard, Alexis Anerilles who were a joy to watch, especially Alexis, who at times manages to play trumpet and wrangle the keyboards at the same time. Which, of course is some feat.
This was serious stuff and there were those in the audience who said they had seen Blick before in a more upbeat mood. He can be forgiven the change of pace, given the subject matter.
Most of the songs were sung in his Bassa language. These days, most Cameroon people speak French or English, or a bastard mixture of both. Singing in Bassa, Blick told us, is intended to keep some old traditions still alive.
The songs were haunting, beautiful and moving, even though most of the audience couldn’t understand most of the the lyrics, Blick Bassy got his point across. He was engaging, even with the language barrier.
In the second half he made another point – “These are complicated times, but love is inside us all. That’s why you are here”.
We’ll go along with that.
Kudos, to Mellowtone and also to Africa Oyé, who have a second, enforced fallow year, for putting on this gig. We can’t have a party in the park until next year, but this will do nicely in the meantime.