Sampa the Great pumped up for WOMAD 2016

Introducing Sampa the Great – a Sydney based Zambian born African Australian artist coming out of the woodwork to stake her claim in the Aussie music scene. Sampa grew up in a musical family listening to traditional Zambian music. At an early age she started writing songs, participating in slam poetry and now hip hop culture eventuating in her being the winner of The Plot Competition 2015 on triple j.

As we countdown to the WOMAD festival, Salt Contributor Manal Younus had a chat with Sampa about her musical journey.


‘You know Kendrick Lamar, right?’

‘I had a dream that I was interviewing him and in my dream I said “interviewing you right now is confronting because it’s like I’m looking at my purpose” – purpose is a big thing for me,’ said Sampa when asked about what she wants to achieve through her music.

Sampa describes music as the language of the soul which she uses to express challenging points of views with the hope to empower and connect with her audience.

‘You’re just sitting in on my therapy sessions, where I’m from, what I’ve experienced, the good the bad, what I’ve learned from it. We’re all connected with the things we experience. Me going on stage is me showing my insecurities.”

While it is difficult to categorise this creative’s work there are strong influences from jazz, hip hop, soul and spoken word.

‘I love to dive between genres,’ said Sampa. An act of rebellion in its own right as Sampa has dealt with the pressures of being stereotyped into certain themes and styles and having expectations placed on her.

Originally from Zambia, Sampa’s music is strongly influenced by her heritage. Growing up surrounded by a variety of melodies and beats taught Sampa to use music for self-expression. Sampa said she recognized the shortage of women and more specifically African women in the music industry and the hip hop scene. She hopes to encourage a new generation through her music.

‘I’m hoping to see more female artists. It’s a big thing seeing someone who looks like you doing these things it makes you think ‘I can do that as well’

Armed with an open persona and compelling lyrics, Sampa is engaging audiences from so many different scenes and it looks like there is more to come.

“Right now we’re working on a project, we just call it the project but we’re not sure what it will look like. We’ll just keep working and see what happens in the end.’

‘I just have so much more to say.”

We look forward to seeing Sampa on the Womad stage on Saturday night at 9.15pm.

Manal is a Spoken Word Poet and activist of Eritrean origin who is currently completing her International Relations Degree at UniSA.

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