The Very Best were born from the meeting of Malawi-born vocalist Esau Mwamawaya
and French-English production duo Radioclit
(Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg, aka "Hugo").
After the tedious and predictable mixtape
Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit Are the Very Best (2008),
a classic case of Afro-xploitation, the proper debut album
Warm Heart Of Africa (Moshi Moshi, 2009) stood as a milestone of global-pop,
and reckless fusion of pop, grime, world-beat and electronica.
the catchy syncopated dance Warm Heart Of Africa (a duet with Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig),
the carnival polka Kamphopo,
and the smooth lilting Julia justified the hype.
The collection displays a balance of songs rooted in
African folk music (the stuttering Yalira,
the propulsive Rain Dance,
and especially the tribal chant Nsokoto)
and songs rooted in Western electronic music (the childish synth-pop of
Chalo, the deviant techno of Mfumu,
the syncopated industrial ballet Ntende Uli).
MTMTMK (Moshi Moshi, 2012), without Etienne Tron, elevated the interaction between
producer Karlberg and the various voices (not only
Mwamawaya's) to an art in itself.
Karlberg's virtuoso treatment of what are essentially Caribbean rhythms
frequently steals the show.
As accomplished as they are,
the pulsating dance-pop of Yoshua Alikuti (the single)
and the anthemic Kondaine (a collaboration with
Nigerian singer Seye Adelekan) feel almost like they
insult his intelligence, which is instead better represented by the
downtempo acid raga Bantu (featuring Mali's couple Amadou and Mariam
plus Senegalese singer Baaba Maal).
We O.K. mixes Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan and singer-songwriter Bruno Mars.
British pop star Taio Cruz is abused in the deconstructed industrial Rumbae.
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