Sampling

Naomi Overo on the cultural importance of sampling in preserving legacies

‘Music is inseparable from history, existing as a continuous art created to serve generations to come, both as a form of entertainment and a source of inspiration.’

I enjoyed this piece from Naomi Overo on the cultural importance of sampling in preserving legacies, focusing primarily on Nigerian and Ghanaian music. This paragraph epitomises sampling as a whole for me:

The sampling process is an art in itself, which often requires artists to flip the elements to fit new music in a different context. Every element of a song is sample material – melodies, lyrics, and even rhythms – and can be engineered – looped, layered, slowed down, sped up, or equalized – to suit its new context.

The essence of sampling is about taking the old, retaining its power, and moulding it into something new and fresh. It’s a form of recycling but you get to signpost to the past and preserve the legacy that music holds. Anything motives that go against that art form might be sampling in an academic sense but certainly not in a spiritual or creative sense.

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