Posts Tagged ‘The Very Best’

WOMAD 2015: Our 10 Recommendations

Posted on July 22nd, 2015 in Features, Live, Recent posts by .



Criolo, photographed by Caroline Bittencourt

As the Songlines team get ready for the upcoming weekend, they share some of their recommendations

With mere hours between us and WOMAD festival, all of us at Songlines HQ cannot wait to get onsite for this celebration of world music. In anticipation, editor Jo Frost, deputy editor Alexandra Petropoulos, news editor Edward Craggs, contributor Alex de Lacey and intern Elicia Casey-Winter have selected the ten bands we’re most looking forward to this weekend.

And don’t forget that we have an unprecedented number of CD signings at the Songlines stands this weekend, so don’t miss your chance to say hello to some of your favourite artists – and Songlines team members! Find out more about Songlines at WOMAD.

Molotov Jukebox 
– Friday, Open Air Stage, 1pm
This band’s own brand of ‘tropical urban Gypsy’ music is sure to bring out the sunshine this weekend… even if only metaphorically. ECW

Kapela Maliszow
– Friday, BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett Stage, 2pm
This family trio – made up of father Jan Malisz, son Kacper and daughter Zuzanna – breathe a delightful new life into Polish traditional music, and all on homemade instruments! AP

– Friday, Big Red Tent, 3pm
These guys mix up Middle Eastern sounds with an urban flare while their lyrics call for freedom and equality; it’s danceable music with a conscience. AP

Totó la Momposina 
 Friday, Open Air Stage, 3pm
The doyenne of Afro-Colombian song makes a long-awaited return to the UK. JF

Tal National
 – Friday, Open Air Stage, 5pm
Looking forward to checking out this band and their alternative, Nigerien take on the desert blues sound. JF

– Friday, BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett Stage, 10:30pm
Lots of buzz about this French-Cuban sister duo and their hypnotic Cuban electronic mix, so keen to experience them live.  JF

 – Saturday, Open Air Stage, 3pm
Having rapidly become one of the most important musicians in Brazil, the São Paolo rapper’s hard-hitting lyrics and stage prowess are not to be missed. EC

Hannah Peel 
– Saturday, Bowers & Wilkins Sound System, 6pm
I first heard Hannah Peel sing at Green Man Festival in 2011 accompanied solely by her music box. Since then she’s released a solo album, two EPs, and collaborated on The Magnetic North’s project that celebrated the music of Orkney. ADL

The Very Best 
– Saturday, Big Red Tent, 7pm
I can’t think of a better way to kick-start Saturday evening than with the euphoric groove of this duo of Johan Hugo and Malawian Esau Mwamwaya. EC

Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor
 – Saturday, Open Air Stage, 9:30pm
This celebration of the elusive Nigerian funk maestro follows the rediscovery of his work on Who is William Onyeabor? released by David Byrne’s imprint Luaka Bop in 2013. Already confirmed to perform are legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and American-Sudanese artist Sinkane, with a whole host of guests still to be announced! ADL

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Video | The Very Best – ‘Hear Me’

Posted on November 24th, 2014 in News, Recent posts by .


Malawian-UK duo The Very Best release new music video ahead of their forthcoming album

Comprised of Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and London-based producer Johan Hugo, The Very Best have recently announced the release of their new album due in spring 2015. The album, which is currently untitled, includes ‘Hear Me’, a song featuring Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio on bass.

The video was directed by Johan Hugo and it’s a time-lapse look at M’dala Chikowa Village in Malawi, where the album was recorded.

Watch ‘Hear Me’:

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Top of the World Review: The Very Best – MTMTMK

Posted on August 19th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Nigel Williamson

Genre busting crew live up to their name

The combination of the Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and the London-based electro production team Radioclit made The Very Best’s debut Warm Heart of Africa one of the freshest and most surprising genre-smashers of recent years. The follow-up is another life-affirming mash-up of African voices, dance beats, samples and electronic trickery that puts a smile on your face and has you leaping around the room. It doesn’t really sound anything like a Manu Chao record, but there is the same sense of authority and purpose, a feeling that these people aren’t just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, but have a vision and know exactly what they are doing.

The last album featured M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. This time around Amadou & Mariam, Baaba Maal and K’naan are among the collaborators. The latter once again proves himself to be the best pop-rapper in the business on ‘We OK’, a track every bit as infectious as his brilliant 2010 football world cup anthem ‘Waving Flag’. The highlight, though, is ‘Bantu’, a dense, layered wall of Afro-psych that starts with the uplifting sound of an African choir and proceeds via some spine-tingling singing from Baaba Maal, Mariam and Jose Hendrix into a sitar-heavy global jam of cosmic intensity. So often this kind of studio-based concoction can sound clever but cynical and lacking in soul. The genius of The Very Best is that they make music with a warmth and generosity that you can hear in everything from Mwamwaya’s emotive voice to the last electronic bleep and blip. This is world music in a thrilling new sense.

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More artists join the Africa Express train

Posted on August 15th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

The collective of African and Western musicians already boasted an incredible line-up when they announced their plans to take a week-long musical adventure across mainland Britain, but it has just been announced that the line-up is in fact even bigger. 

It was revealed that Tony Allen, Carl Barât, Toumani Diabaté, Nicolas Jaar, Krar Collective (pictured), Kyla La Grange, M1 (Dead Prez), M.anifest, Spoek Mathambo, John McClure (Reverend and the Makers), Nneka, The Temper Trap, Marques Toliver, The Very Best (Soundsystem) and Rizzle Kicks will be joining the ranks. 

The already confirmed line up included Amadou & Mariam, Damon Albarn, Rokia Traoré, Kano, Baloji, Charli XCX, Fatoumata Diarawa, Noisettes, Jupiter & Okwess International and Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club). 

The train leaves London on September 2 as part of the London 2012 Festival and will travel through England, Scotland and Wales. Confirmed shows include:

Monday September 3: MIDDLESBOROUGH – Town Hall
Tuesday September 4: GLASGOW – The Arches
Wednesday September 5: MANCHESTER – The Ritz
Thursday September  6: CARDIFF – Solus (Cardiff University)
Friday September  7: BRISTOL – The Big Top @ Creative Common
Saturday September 8: Finale concert in Granary Square, Kings Cross, LONDON


Tickets start a £15 and are on sale now.

If you are interested in hosting a gig with some of the fantastic musicians on the train tour in an interesting location during one of their stops, please contact


Photo of Krar Collective by Marcus Waterloo

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