Bristol-based soulful singer-songwriter Samantha Lindo has presented her debut album ‘Ancestry’, which was funded by Arts Council and MOBO Awards, and it is a delight.
Opening track ‘Child in Me’ is sombre and Samantha’s vocals are so stunning and gripping, due to how beautiful yet gentle she sounds – as she explores her family history, or ancestry, to uncover themes of dual heritage identity, inter-generational healing and more.
Previous single ‘Worthy’ was also the first single to be taken from this album and has real ‘feel good’ vibes. The single saw Samantha look back at her family history and was inspired by her great, great grandfather Samuel Brown, a methodist minister from Barbados, whose faith helped him in the face of prejudice when he married Ada, a Scottish teacher. ‘Worthy’ is a song about knowing oneself and looking inwards for validation.
‘Like Family’, another previous single, is an emotional song with lyrics that have a deeper meaning as they refer to a childhood trip Samantha took with her grandfather to find his old childhood house on an old sugar plantation. She sings about how she witnessed her grandfather weep when memories came flooding back to him. “Only time I saw you cry,” she sings, her vocals crystal clear throughout.
‘Little Songbird’ is poetic and is this time inspired by her great uncle, Robert Brown, who moved to Canada in the 1970s and looks at the topic of migration and solidarity among those who lived away due to political unrest or economic problems. Again, ‘Little Songbird’ is moving and emotive. The production on this track feels modern, despite the simplicity of it.
‘Shades of Yellow’ has a spoken word introduction and includes Samantha saying she is “speaking mine” in terms of her history. ‘Bloodline’ is a more upbeat track and sees Samantha being “powerful and vulnerable at the same time”. She sings about taking “fire” and “pain” and protecting her energy in order to help others do the same.
‘Ancestry’ is truly beautiful, but there is an underlying strength which has come from the sadness unearthed through these songs and there is a sense of Samantha reclaiming her history. She is unstoppable and says so herself (on ‘Bloodline’). She also uses her music to focus on the future and we cannot wait to hear more!
As far as debut albums go, ‘Ancestry’ is exceptional.
Words: Narzra Ahmed