FAME Review: Offiong Bassey - Offiong Bassey
Offiong Bassey - Offiong Bassey

Offiong Bassey

Offiong Bassey

Moonlit Media Group - MMG 0236

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Well, every so often, usually once a year, maybe every two years, someone issues a propaganda disc for one godthing or another (Yahweh, God, Allah, etc. ad infinitum) that goes so far beyond norms that I have no choice but to attack it—usaully, though, it's the Christians. I got into an unholy conflict with the Rural Rhythms label because of a CD of abnegationist religious tripe from bluegrass evangelist Mike Scott (same name but not the Brit songwriter in The Waterboys), and the entire RR management sector lost its mind, which is why FAME readers rarely see reviews from me on their product any more, but I am, after all, a critic, something that never can be understood by low mentalities thinking exclusively in terms of account books, ledgers, and profit charts. To a critic, everything, literally everything is grist for the mill, as it should be. Whatever the artist presents, we comment on; that's why they present it: for consumption. That intake, though, can sometimes upset the stomach.

I know religions quite well. It doesn't matter which one we're talking about, they're all the same, only the names and cultspreche differ, and once one gets beyond the maddening ceaseless liturgical minutia, they're nothing more than holy-rolling businesses vending wares much better elsewhere (philosophy, logic, reason, common sense, etc.) minus beserk murderous superheroes in the skies, of course. As a Catholic, I was an altar boy, choir boy, and catechist baptized and confirmed in the "faith". Never really comfortable with any of it at any point, by 14 I'd had enough of the science-fiction novel / comic book known as The Holy Bible and rebelled, became an atheist. That's the goal of intelligence: to buck consensus reality. I've no problems with a decent peppering of religion in bluegrass music and elsewhere, but when every damn song in a disc is literally a paean to that monster in The Bible or can't help but intrude His name no matter what the subject, that's when a sane individual must take issue. Offiong Bassey, I'm sorry to say, is guilty of that sin, serving up non-stop God-ism in her eponymous release.

She's a beautiful woman, possesses a very melodious voice, and engages a combination of African and Western musical modes in an attractive style (Edidem is gorgeous and would entrance another religionist, Joseph Shabalala, who's careful not to oversell his spiritualism in the magnificent Ladysmith Black Mambazo) but, lord, the endless stream of overt and covert references to fantasy figurations get just too gawdawful burdensome. Check just this short spew of hideous Rightist idiocy:

A doctor's prognosis is a hypothesis
And a consultant's advice is based on an educated guess…
But God is souvereign no matter what methodologies
We use to contain Him

Yeah, I know, are we reading Rush Limbaugh, Oral Roberts, or Glenn Beck? Such poesy and/or prosody is neither music nor art, it's propaganda and of a sort so low it grates even the most ignorant. That it's embedded in art corrupts the artistic process, and, er, doctors and consultants are suspect but fantasies from the piss-poor novel we call The Bible, written by greed-engorged priests and rabbis, must be our guideposts??? No matter how sonorously such tripe is worded and clothed in finery, it reeks. I could go on and on and on, but I'll spare the reader. My point is understood, my mini-sermon delivered. If you want Bassey's testifying, buy the disc.

One of these days, we'll wake. Spirit is spirit, and religion serves it but poorly if at all. It trains one in authoritarianism, patriarchalism, obeisance, abnegation, slavery, unquestioning bovinity, and a poverty of life that has resulted, along with capitalism, in all the madness, wars, brutalities, and every manner of excess of misbehavior history has shown us. We go nowhere, we can claim no faintest whiff of evolution, so long as religion exists in any form. Then of course, there are the singer's unbelievably hypocritical takes on feminism, as in Mistaking Chivalry for Chauvinism. You have to read the lyrics to believe what you're hearing, and, in the end, everything considered, only a psychiatrist could envision any sort of benefit in this CD; namely, a very profitable future treating such neuroses as Offiong Bassey lavishes upon her audience.

Track List:

  • Legitimate Child
  • Edidem
  • Weatherman
  • Full Moon
  • Mistaking Chivalry for Chauvinism
  • Conclusion
  • Chasing after the Wind
  • Owo Iba Me Ita
  • Wild Oats
  • It Might be Hard
  • Efik Praise Medley
  • Edidem (traditional mix)
All songs written by Offiong Bassey.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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