The Very Best is a project of European production duo Radioclit and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya.
This stuff is so fantastically refreshing. The super saucy Rain Dance – a kitchen sink of natural sounds, African rhythms, whistles and bells, party beat plus an out-of-this-world, sweaty sounding contribution from M.I.A. – is the song I’m listening to over and over. Maybe it was silly for VW to try to coin their own vibey term way back when, but funkengruven does come to mind as a fair description of the lively commotion incited by these 13 songs influenced all the way from traditional Malawi music, Tchopa, Manganje, Vimbuza and African reggae to Ludacris to freekin Phil Collins, even featuring Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and M.I.A on a few juicy tracks.
The story: “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 with Mwamwaya’s emotive vocal approach. Karlberg dubbed Mwamwaya “the African Phil Collins,” and they have been recording songs together ever since.”
You can still download The Very Best’s original mixtape, Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit Are The Very Best, HERE (free). It’s got Mwamwaya singing (in Chichewa, Swahili, Portuguese and English) over Radioclit remixes of Michael Jackson, Vampire Weekend, Hans Zimmer and M.I.A.