Malawi Mouse Boys - Dirt Is Good

Published Friday 20th June 2014
Malawi Mouse Boys - Dirt Is Good
Malawi Mouse Boys - Dirt Is Good

STYLE: World
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 151218-22113

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

The Boys have the kind of story you couldn't make up. Top American producer Ian Brennan (Lucinda Williams, Ramblin' Jack Elliott) was driving around Malawi in 2011 when he drove past a group of truckstop hawkers who were singing gospel songs while peddling their principle wares, grilled mice on sticks. He recorded and filmed them and the Malawi Mouse Boys' subsequent debut album received rapturous reviews and they were one of the hits on 2012's Womad Festival. Now comes their second album. The Boys are still plinking on homemade instruments but their polyphonic harmonies are tighter and occasionally sound like a stripped down version of South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazzo. Standout songs include "Mupulumuke" (translated "To Be Saved") and "Mwazi Wa Jesu" ("Blood Of Jesus"). As a reviewer in the Telegraph newspaper commented, "This isn't the most melodically or rhythmically sophisticated African folk music you'll ever hear, but it has a homespun integrity, an appeal corresponding to one of world music's central tenets: the idea that given the right context, people from the wrong side of the tracks with negligible resources can create music that is not only truer, but better than the finest efforts of professionals."

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