Blog January 19, 2016
Blitz the Ambassador Completes "Diasporadical Trilogía"
Blitz the Ambassador is an extremely talented Ghanaian musician who has earned a reputation for blending hard-edged English-language hip-hop with classic West African popular music, mixing live band performances with samples of classic records. On his 2014 album Afropolitan Dreams, Blitz collaborated extensively with African musical icons including Angelique Kidjo, Sarkodie and Seun Kuti. Check out his interview with Afropop about his process and the meaning of that record right here. More recently, Blitz has turned to using video as a medium for exploring and expounding his Afrodiasporic vision, celebrating black music, culture and spirituality across the African diaspora.
I love making Music but the reason I focused on Film lately is black people lack beautiful images of themselves globally. That is a crime. — Blitz the Ambassador (@BlitzAmbassador) January 17, 2016In 2015, Blitz wrote and directed three short films, basically extended music videos, which he released as the Diasporadical Trilogía series. Each video takes place in a different city, but they all treat themes of West African traditional religion, danger, love and protection. Blitz just released the final video, "Running," which takes place in Salvador, Bahia, the center of Afrodiasporic culture in Brazil. The beautifully filmed video weaves the wedding of a young couple (Loo Nascimento, Jose Flores, Blitz plays the priest), with the trials of a mother (Anita Da Costa) and her otherworldly twins, known as ibeji in Yoruba-derived traditions. When their home is threatened by demolition, the twins defend it with palm fronds, just one of the symbols from Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion, a Yoruba-descended spiritual practice, that permeates "Running." The music also reflects this influence: the main song is a heavy 6/8 beat with driving horns and guitars and the chorus, "Ago, ame," a traditional greeting in Ghana. Blitz delivers emphatic polyrhythmic verses, shouting out traditional Yoruba deities alongside Allah and Jah, and delivering a solo moment of stunning lyrical dexterity. The previous release, "Shine" follows a young girl (credited as Z.A.B.) through the subways and streets of New York after her father, a Ghanaian immigrant (played by Anthony Calypso), is detained by police detectives. She is accompanied by a spirit figure in a West African raffia mask who dances beside her, protecting her until her father is released. The tune, produced by IAMNOBODI, is built on a heavy djembe/dundun beat with Malinke guitars and vocals. Blitz raps, "You already know, they can never change me/They can never stop me, I'mma shine my light!" The first release, "Juju Girl," was filmed in Accra, Ghana. The video has an old-school aesthetic, from the clothes to the cars, and it starts in the well-known bar Republic (shout-out to guitarist Kyekyeku who appears on stage!). The music is old-school Afro-highlife, and Blitz sings the melodic hook with an atypically gentle cadence. At first this seems to be a straightforward love story until the girl in question (played by Yaa Opare) flees Blitz's advances, drawing him into a traditional ceremony by the ocean. By the time he arrives, everything is already over, and she is already gone. We commend Blitz on work well done, and, as usual, we look forward to enjoying whatever creative endeavor he takes on next.