Countries: London, UK; Malawi, Africa
Composed of London-based DJ/production duo Radioclit and Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya, The Very Best seamlessly mesh the afro-pop sounds of Esau’s native country with modern hip-hop, indie rock and dance influences. The group first came to my attention with the title track from their debut album Warm Heart of Africa, which featured Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend. Though I didn’t hear the album at the time, the song stuck with me and when I finally took the time to listen to the full LP, it was like a revelation.
The warm production and joyous songs enraptured me. While all the lyrics (minus Ezra Koenig and M.I.A.‘s guest spots) are in Chichewa, the celebratory feeling created on these tracks requires no translation. Their strong follow-up album, Makes a King, was released in 2015 and was one of my top ten albums of the year. In 2016, the band collaborated with Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal on the Johannesburg EP. If you’re planning on throwing a party anytime soon, take a risk and throw some The Very Best on.