The Malawi Mouse Boys: He is #1 (Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Malawi Mouse Boys: Mtsilikali (Soldier)
The Malawi Mouse Boys: He is #1 (Southbound)

Their name alone sends you to You Tube to find out more about the Malawi Mouse Boys . . . and indeed that is exactly what they are.

They sell mice kebabs on the roadside as a kind of snack-to-go for passing cars and trucks in some remote and dusty part of Malawi.

But then you see them walk behind a house into the garden, pick up the most battered of instruments imaginable and sing.

And how they sing!

With broken guitars and rudimentary percussion held together by tape and wire, they sing up a joyous gospel sound which at times (Ndaimirila) almost connects to the South Pacific through its loose-limbed and swaying hips rhythms, elemental drumming and close harmony vocals.

Elsewhere (as on the affecting Jesu) there is a simple and direct testament to their faith (hence the album title) which is gentle and moving. Their are hints of American gospel from many decades ago in Rejoice in the Lord, but when they hit offbeats (Ndathamanga-Thamanga with is single string guitar solo, the chant-sing of Mtsilikali) this could be reggae from a rural roadside in Jamaica.

Recorded in situ by Ian (Tinariwen) Brennan, the Malawi Mouse Boys will never be able to make another album as authentic as this . . . and their collective voice is a sheer delight.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Martini Gotje - Sep 24, 2012

Thanks for posting Graham. Malawi gospel i suppose. I'm an atheist, but this touched me in its simplicity and beauty

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

THREE WOMAD ACTS FOR 2019 ANNOUNCED

THREE WOMAD ACTS FOR 2019 ANNOUNCED

Womad announcements have sometimes started with a whimper when a couple of acts are announced then delivered the big bang at the official announcement of the complete line-up. This time the... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

The great Cuban singer - who came to world attention via the Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago - is still going even though she is in her late 70, which may be some kind of testament to the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

James Darren: Goodbye Cruel World (1961)

James Darren: Goodbye Cruel World (1961)

One of the most popular shows on American television in the late Fifites/early Sixties was the Donna Reed Show, a middle-class family of mum (attractive and smart Donna Reed) the doctor dad... > Read more

FARTHER AWAY by JONATHAN FRANZEN

FARTHER AWAY by JONATHAN FRANZEN

Although Jonathan Franzen's publishers would be happy to see anything from their massive-selling and award-winning author (The Corrections, Freedom), there might have only been muted applause... > Read more