On her own - without the muscle of a promotional or publicity campaign - Nigerian-American singer-songwriter-poet Offiong Bassey let her captivating self-titled debut album trickle out earlier this year.
Last month, the Boston Globe ran a full-page color feature that helped Bassey sellout her first concert at her hometown’s famed Scullers Jazz Club. The Boston Strong Nigerian’s Moonlit Media Group label will give the cross-cultural cornucopia of Afro-Peruvian, Nigerian Ekombi, R&B, jazz, gospel, funk, soul and hip hop songs that she wrote and co-produced an official release date – February 4th – that will be boosted by a marketing campaign.
Bassey, whose name means “God’s moon,” shines by writing lyrical poetry of inspiration, social commentary and empowerment set to rousing rhythms, lilting harmonies and soulful grooves. Alternately singing or rapping in English, her native Efik or Nigerian Pidgin English, the topical storyteller sometimes utilizes the pageantry of festive global beats to transcend language barriers. Bassey was joined in the studio by producer Blethy Emmanuel Tiegnon of the Ivory Coast along with an international cast of musicians and percussionists.
As seen in the first video from the disc, “Edidem,” a song inspired by a traditional Efik prayer as passed down by her grandmother, Bassey not only incorporates authentic cultural elements from her Nigerian-born parents and grandparents into her colorfully textured aural mosaics, she also invites family into the experience. Her brother, percussionist Eniang Bassey, performs on one track on the album.
The radio campaign to support “Offiong Bassey” will be spearheaded by a two-prong attack. “Legitimate Child” is a spiritually-inspired affirmation surfing an invigorating Calypso workout aided by Calabar-style Nigerian drumming while bombastic Afrobeats, blaring horns and funk guitar riffs spark the celebratory “Conclusion.”
“The album was inspired by my varied experiences with people and the ways in which we respond to triumph, challenge and nuance as we move through the human experience. As such, whether utilizing African, soul or gospel undertones, I write music that speaks to the spirit. I decided to self-title the album because it is such a pure and holistic representation of who I am as an individual and who I am as an artist,” said Bassey, who elaborates in detail on the origins and meanings of each song in her EPK (http://tinyurl.com/lslmcgs).
Presently booking a slate of first quarter 2014 concert dates to perform with her nine-piece band, Bassey, a Yale graduate, plans to record an unplugged session in the spring comprised of new material and cuts from “Offiong Bassey.” For more information, please visit www.OffiongBassey.com.
The songs contained on “Offiong Bassey” are:
“Mistaking Chivalry for Chauvinism”
“Chasing After the Wind”
“Owo Iba Me Ita”
“It Might Be Hard”
“Efik Praise Medley”
“Edidem (Traditional Mix)”