Formed by Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and production duo Radioclit (made up of Swede Johan Hugo and Frenchman Etienne Tron), electro-Afro-pop outfit the Very Best came to fruition in 2008 after the trio's free online mixtape Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit Are the Very Best found unexpected global success.
Their spirited remixes of obscure/popular pop, dance, indie rock, and Afro-pop tunes -- all of which were tied together by Mwamwaya's hypnotic Chichewa, Swahili, Portuguese, and English vocals -- found favor with everyone from Pitchfork to Radar to Rolling Stone. In 2009, the group unleashed its first physical product, Warm Heart of Africa. Released on New York City's Green Owl
label, the album featured all original material and included guest appearances from M.I.A.
and Vampire Weekend
's Ezra Koenig
. The Moshi Moshi
imprint released Remixes by the Very Best in mid-2010, followed a year later by the self-released mixtape Super Mom. That same year, the Radioclit duo split, with Tron pursuing other ventures. The newly minted duo of Mwamwaya and Hugo continued with MTMTMK, the band's next full-length offering, which arrived in July 2012. The LP found the Very Best collaborating with Amadou & Mariam
, Baaba Maal
, Bruno Mars
, and K'naan
. The global pop duo's third studio long-player, Makes a King, arrived in 2015. Johannesburg, a collaborative project with Mumford & Sons
, Baaba Maal
, and Beatenberg
, arrived in June 2016, recorded in the city of the same name. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi