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Sampa the Great Performs ‘Tiny Desk (Home) Concert’ for Black History Month

Performing four tracks from her home country of Zambia, Sampa the Great showcases her iconic artistry in a far-too short set.

Isaac Tuba*

Sampa the Great has delivered a riveting performance for the latest edition of NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series, filming her appearance in Zambia as part of Black History Month.

Currently in her her landlocked African home country Zambia, the Botswana-raised and Australia-based artist performed her four-set from the country’s capital of Lusaka. Backed by a seven-piece band, the slick set was performed as part of NPR’s Black History Month celebrations, using the month of February to focus on concerts and playlists from Black artists.

Kicking off her performance with “Rhymes to The East” from 2017’s Birds and The Bee9, Sampa showcases her 2019 debut album The Return with stellar renditions of “Mwana”, “Freedom”, and “Final Form”, effortlessly moving between the tunes and highlighting her worth as one of the finest artists and performers in the country right now.

“I’m so happy I got to perform my first NPR Tiny Desk at home (literally) in Zambia,” Sampa said in a statement following the set. “I got to share my experience with musicians I respect and we got to share who we are and where we’re from with so much excitement.

“We were sad to have postponed our sold out American tour last year and I’ve always loved watching NPR performances and seeing artists truly express themselves, the ‘At Home’ series was a great way to do that until we can get to the NPR offices in Washington!”

While Sampa the Great undoubtedly hoped to move into 2020 with big plans, the advent of a global pandemic made many things, including the aforementioned American tour, an impossibility. Kicking off the year by becoming the first artist to win the Australian Music Prize twice, Sampa remained busy throughout the year, releasing a short film also called The Return, a music video for “Time’s Up”, and also took home three trophies at the 2020 ARIA Awards.

Although details regarding the next chapter in her career currently remain unclear, NPR notes that Sampa is set to continue her musical journey while in Zambia.