Songhoy Blues Announce New Album ‘Optimisme’ & Share Single

By Nate Todd Aug 5, 2020 2:03 pm PDT

Songhoy Blues announced a new album, Optimisme, due out on October 23rd through Fat Possum Records. The Malian rock band also shared the single, “Badala.”

Matt Sweeney (Stephen Malkmus, Run The Jewels) produced Optimisme, which means “Optimism” in French. The 11-track set sees the band commenting on the current situation in their native Mail, which is divided between north and south with music banned in the north under sharia law. “Fey Fey” (meaning “Division” in the Songhai language of West Africa) speaks to the divide while “Barre” (Songhai for change) looks to inspire the Malian youth.

The latest track and album opener, “Badala,” which in Songhai means “I don’t care” or “I don’t give a shit,” is “written from the perspective of a woman freed from the domination and oppression of her man, and the men who dominate the West African country,” as per a statement. The track arrived with an accompanying lyric video translated in three languages: English, French and Songhai.

Watch the lyric video for “Badala” below:

Optimisme Tracklist & Translations:

  1. “Badala” (Songhai for “I don’t care”/”I don’t give a shit”) *written in the voice of a woman freed from the oppression of her man, and men
  2. “Assadja” (Songhai for “warrior”) *celebrates the everyday warrior, the working-class person who builds families and communities
  3. “Fey Fey” (Songhai for “division”) *addresses the situation in Mali where some want the north to separate from the south
  4. “Gabi” (Songhai for “forced”) *in Mali, many young women are forced to marry someone they do not love
  5. “Barre” (Songhai for “change”) *calling on the youth to get involved to change the corruption in government
  6. “Pour Toi” (French/Songhai for “for you”) *a song about love, losing love and the nostalgia that haunts
  7. “Bon Bon” (French for “candy”) *the seduction of a better life away from Mali, that is not what you think upon arrival
  8. “Worry” (English) *sung in English, a universal song of optimism, hope and strength during adversity
  9. “Korfo” (Songhai for “chains/strings/cables) *when the Europeans chained Africans in a line like animals to sell
  10. “Dounia” (Songhai for “life”) *why we let materialism and power destroy our relationships with fellow human beings
  11. “Kouma” (Bambara for “speech”) *calling out of politicians lies
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