Photography by Andile Buka

“Summer Evening” is Sam Turpin’s emotional tribute to his mom

For better or worse, our parents shape who we become. Whether we try to live up to the high standards they’ve set before us or swear to be nothing like them, who we are is so intrinsically tied to who they were, and their actions have a lasting impact on us long after they’re gone. Nice-guy-rapper Sam Turpin’s mom is Gisèle Wulfsohn, a renowned photographer who left quite a legacy to live up to as she helped document the anti-apartheid struggle and later worked extensively on HIV/AIDs awareness initiatives. His latest song, “Summer Evening”, is a touching tribute to her and how she helped him become the person he is today.

Sam has always come across as rather compassionate and kind, both in his music and in my brief interactions with him in real life. I now suspect it may have been instilled in him from his mom. While Sam is self-aware, he doesn’t come across as self-absorbed but rather more empathetic than most. In “Summer Evening”, Sam’s first release in quite some time, he breaks down the lessons his mom taught him before she passed on. He speaks about his desire to use his art the way his mom used hers, to uplift others and bring attention to the plight of the downtrodden. I guess Sam was always destined to be a bit woke.

Sam worked with London based India Shan for the track as their families have been friends since the anti-apartheid struggle. Both bring a gentle openness to the table that’s genuinely touching, and personally, I’d like to hear an EP out of the two of them that explores their connection further. It’s an emotional two and a half minutes that’ll probably have you calling your own mom if you still can, and looking back at her legacy if you can’t.

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