Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are the Very Best

By Jordyn Marcellus

Malawaian singer Esau Mwamwaya and British DJs duo Radioclit released their mixtape, The Very Best in November 2008 for free online at their MySpace ( The Mwamwaya and Radioclit sampling is wide and varied, from MIA’s Bengali electro-banger “Paper Planes” to Vampire Weekend’s own poppy “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” The Very Best re-integrates some of 2008’s greatest tracks and funks them out with a rarely heard afro-pop flavour to create a spicy curry of world music and modern independent standards.

On two separate tracks– “Boyz,” which samples from “Boys” and “Tengazko,” which takes its backing beat from the wildly-popular “Paper Planes”– Radioclit give MIA some special love. These tracks are perfectly suited to Mwamwaya. His smooth voice and his rhythmic African singing style are perfectly suited to Radioclit’s sampling from the tracks. “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” features the main riff from Vampire Weekend and, when sung by Mwamwaya, leaves no doubt about the African influences in Weekend’s music.

The high-energy pop isn’t the only thing at play on The Very Best. “Kada Manja” starts off with a staccato a capella sing-song that transforms into a beautiful cello piece. “Dinosaur on the Ark” would fit in with any independent release, its mid-tempo instrumentation fitting in with all the navel-gazing tight jeans indie kids this side of New York.

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