The Very Best comprises of the duo of Swedish-born Euro DJ/producer Johan Hugo (Radioclit) and Malawian singer/drummer Esau Mwamwaya. The pair had a chance meeting at a second-hand shop in London back in 2007 and decided to collaborate – marking the start of a beautiful musical pairing. The music that The Very Best creates is best described as a mixture of Afro-pop with a dash of hip-hop and psychedelia added in. It combines the tribal rhythmic music from Mwamwaya’s roots with Hugo’s hip-hop leanings and slick beats.
I first heard about the band when Vampire Weekend‘s Ezra Koenig guested on vocals on the title track of The Very Best‘s debut album, Warm Heart of Africa, and was immediately hooked. Their sophomore record, MTMTMK builds on this and adds layers to its predecessor. Songs are sung in both English and the Malawian language and guest stars (including K’Naan and Amadou & Mariam) abound. It’s a very joyous and infectious record, one that will have you smiling and dancing around.
The Very Best – MTMTMK comes out 7/17 via Moshi Moshi/ Cooperative Music (order here)
Check out video for the party-rific earworm that is Kondaine embedded below.