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.
The album follows the recently released single ‘Final Form’, which was hailed as Zane Lowe’s ‘World Record’ and received incredible support from the likes of The Guardian, OkayAfrica, The Independent, Clash, gal-dem and many more. It was also the #1 Most Played track on Triple J the week of release, and received love from Ebro Darden (Beats 1 / Hot 97), Annie Mac, Mistajam & DJ Target (Radio 1), Gilles Peterson & Lauren Laverne (6 Music), Jason Kramer & Anthony Valadez (KCRW), John Richards, Larry Rose & Atticus (KEXP), and more and more.
On “The Return” Sampa has enlisted a string of esteemed collaborators and peers to create the album. Mixed by Jonwayne (of Stones Throw notoriety), MsM (Skepta/Boy Better Know) and Andrei Eremin (GRAMMY-nominated engineer for Hiatus Kaiyote and Chet Faker), productions are by Silentjay, Slowthai producer Kwes Darko, Clever Austin (Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kiayote), Blue Lab Beats and Syreniscreamy. The album also features collaborations with Ecca Vandal and London jazz collective Steam Down. Many of them are the fruits of the network Sampa has built since first making waves in 2015 - following time spent studying in San Francisco and LA - as a new arrival in Sydney’s hip-hop and jazz freestyle nights. Since then, she’s performed with Denzel Curry on his breakout track ‘Black Balloons’ for Triple J’s ‘Like A Version’, and toured globally, supporting the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Thundercat, Joey Bada$$, Hiatus Kaiyote, Noname, Ibeyi and Little Simz.
Following recent live performances at Glastonbury, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Dark MOFO (Tasmania - alongside FKA Twigs, Kelsey Lu, Nicholas Jaar), Down The Rabbit Hole (Netherlands) and a headline show at Hip-Hop Collection (Paris) - Sampa plays alongside Sons Of Kemet at Somerset House on 13th July, before joining Burna Boy - recent recipient of the BET Best International Act award - in New York’s Prospect Park on 19th July plus headline solo shows at Elsewhere in Brooklyn on 18th July and Gold Diggers in LA on 22nd July. She returns to the EU in November for a headline tour that includes XOYO in London, as well as stops in Manchester, Bristol, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and more.
Sampa the Great (Sampa Tembo) is a poet and singer-songwriter. Expressing herself through music, poetry and visual art, Sampa captures listeners with thought provoking words, while encouraging people to enjoy the simplicity of creativity.
It's generating a huge response, scoring a total of 93 points in meta-critics. AllMusic described the album as "a record that has complex content but is easily and confidently delivered with lyrics and a combination of jazz throngs and exquisite rhythms," and NME gives it a perfect score of five, describing it as a completely flawless record. A record that doesn't always fall on this year's list of albums of 2018 released by many media outlets. jwsmusic