The Very Best’s—European production duo Radioclit and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya—debut full-length Warm Heart of Africa will be released this fall on Green Owl. The album follows the surprising global success of Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit Are The Very Best, a free mixtape made available online late last year. Without promotional assistance or financial support, the collection of well-known pop, dance, afro and indie tracks remixed by Radioclit featuring Mwamwaya’s singing in Chichewa, Swahili, Portuguese and English charted more than 200,000 downloads and was hailed by tastemakers including Pitchfork, FADER, and Gorilla vs. Bear among many others.
In anticipation of the new album, the band will cross the Atlantic for a series of singular U.S. performances including stops in New York City and Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. See dates below. While The Very Best mixtape caught fire with Mwamwaya singing over remixes of Michael Jackson (Free Willy theme), Vampire Weekend (“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”), Hans Zimmer (True Romance theme) and M.I.A. (“Paper Planes”), the full-length consists of original songs. For the recording, the band brings some guests on board: M.I.A. for “Rain Dance” and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig sings on “Warm Heart Of Africa.”
The Very Best embodies a without-borders approach to music-making that could only happen in the 21st century.
The band came together when Mwamwaya first met Radioclit’s Etienne Tron in 2007 while haggling over a bicycle in the London second-hand furniture shop he ran near the duo’s studio. Following the exchange, Mwamwaya was invited to Tron’s house-warming party where he met the other half of Radioclit, Johan Karlberg. Esau was asked to come to Radioclit’s studio after he told Karlberg he was a drummer.
It turned out Esau was a singer too and they decided to collaborate, combining Radioclit’s vast production experience and self-described “ghettopop” style — having produced and remixed tracks for the likes of M.I.A., Lily Allen, Justin Timberlake, Santigold, Britney Spears, TV On The Radio, David Banner, Buraka Som Sistema among others — with Mwamwaya’s emotive vocal approach. Karlberg dubbed Mwamwaya “the African Phil Collins,” and they have been recording songs together ever since.
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The Very Best Tour Dates
July 16 Los Angeles, CA The Echoplex
July 17 San Francisco, CA Mighty
July 18 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
July 19 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival