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He Is No.1

Malawi Mouse Boys Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 11.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Produced by GRAMMY-winning producer with three GRAMMY-nominated records (World Music- 2011, Best Traditional Folk-2006 and 2007) Ian Brennan.

It was just around the corner from the "Pack-and-Go" coffin shop that any trace of music was found in Malawi, on a tiny stretch of road which marks the only place where the tradition of selling barbecued mice-on-sticks as snacks for ... Read more in Amazon's Malawi Mouse Boys Store

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for all the music, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 May 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: IRL
  • ASIN: B007R8Y4N2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,756 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Kunvera (To Hear) 3:340.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Ndinasangalala (I Was Happy) 2:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Ndaimirila (Stand By) 3:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Jesu (Jesus) 4:030.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Ndiwa Bwino (He is Good) 2:500.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ndathamanga-Thamanga (Going Here and There) 1:520.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Cuyenda Ndi Jesu (Going With Jesus) 2:050.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Poem About God0:180.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Mtsilikali (Soldier) 1:070.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Palibe (It's Not There) 3:260.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Wabwino (It's Good) 1:160.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Kunjoya Mwa Jesu (Rejoice in the Lord) 1:410.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Tate (Father) 2:530.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Uthenga Wabwino (Good News) 1:590.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

The Malawi Mouse Boys is a band of eight members - a group of young villagers who have been playing music together and writing songs since they were children. 'He is #1' is their first album – a collection of rootsy and authentic songs of faith and love, reminiscent of the rural, southern sounds of mid-20th century American gospel music. The album is produced by GRAMMY winning producer, Ian Brennan, and is released on IRL on Monday 28th May 2012. Landlocked Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and when not strumming on their rudimentary guitars made from recycled scrap-metal parts, these young musicians make a living selling the local delicacy - mice on sticks as snacks for passing travellers - hence their name. This is the first time their music has been out of Malawi (in fact the first ever release in the language of Chichewa outside Malawi) and the purity and earnestness of their voices is both enchanting and moving - as if these 14 songs have been discovered in a long lost time-capsule. Ian Brennan, producer of Tinariwen's recent GRAMMY winning album, 'Tassili', and three-time GRAMMY nominated, has worked with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Kyp Malone & Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), Flea, Lucinda Williams, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson and more. For Brennan the experience of working with The Malawi Mouse Boys was extraordinary: "With vocal-powerhouse, Zondiwe Kachingwe, 22, playing Sam Cooke to 27 year-old Nelson Muligo's stonecold Keith Richards, the only real obstacle to catching lightning-in-a-bottle musically with these eight young men were the tiny spiders that kept crawling into the hard-drive and crashing the mobile system as I recorded on the clay-ground beside their hut." Line-up: Zondiwe Kachingwe (vocals), Alfred Gavana (vocals, guitar), Gerard Haju (drums), Laurence Mpombe (vocals), Austine Banda (guitar), Nelson Muligo (lead guitar, vocals), Jameson Lufeyo (vocals), Patrick Muhondo (bass, vocals).

BBC Review

Before you balk at the name, check the back story. These eight friends have worked together since boyhood, crafting songs when business was slow. Their day jobs: selling mouse kebabs to passing traffic on Malawi’s roads, since food shortages have made field mice a delicacy.

But what about the music? He Is #1 has a refreshingly unencumbered sound, a lack of technological interference allowing the honesty and authenticity of the music to shine through.

When Kunvera opens, what you hear is what you get: an a cappella track steered by the pleasant tenor of Zondiwe Kachingwe, supported by a strong chorus of peers. Can’t say what the lyrics are about, other than that the title means “To Hear”, but one gets the sense we are dealing with something positive, as the voices work together to draw us upwards.

In contrast, Ndathamanga-Thamanga (“Going Here and There”) is led by the gruffer voice of one Jameson Lufeyo, whose style edges a little closer to that of Mahlathini, but the effect is somehow equally uplifting.

The disc’s title hints at the devotional focus of most of the songs, with Kunjoya Mwa Jesu imploring us to “Rejoice in the Lord” and Ndiwa Bwino telling us that “He is Good”, the latter delivered via broad vocal harmony, backed by a choppy rhythm guitar, and muffled, bouncing bass.

Mtsilikali (“Solider”) places some reggae undercurrents behind the constant references to “Jesu”, and Wabwino (“It’s Good”) is delightfully rough. Listen closely, and behind Gerard Haju’s wobbling lead you may hear the crows of a cockerel.

Parallels have been drawn with American gospel records of the 1930s and 40s, but there are also strong regional influences, as heard in the vocal harmony traditions of the Shona and Bantu, amongst others. Plenty of tracks are rough around the edges, which keeps everything a bit more real.

Producer Ian Brennan has already brought a tasteful ear to plenty of inspiring material, including Tinariwen’s Tassili album. Good on him for bringing the Malawi Mouse Boys to the attention of the wider world, as this one is definitely worth investigating.

--David Katz

Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chabwino chabwino kwambiri!! 8 July 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first heard a track from He is #1 on BBC 6 Music, and was amazed and excited to hear music in Chichewa (the main language of Malawi) being played on the radio in the U.K. I was even more pleased to be able to buy the album on Amazon. The story of how the musicians were 'discovered' and helped to record the album is inspiring; I do hope that they are seeing the profits from the sale of the album. I admit that I would probably not buy an album with such a strong religious theme that was sung in English. However, I love the sound of the Chichewa language but only have limited understanding of it, so I love listening to and bopping along to the tunes on He is #1. My current favourite track is "Ndaimirila (Stand By)", mainly because it sounds so positive and has a great melody. I would recommend the album to people who like world music, undiscovered talent, and of course to anyone who has ever been to Malawi.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious dilemma. 17 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD
Love it, love it, love it! What a joy to hear music in the raw - we get so little of it these days.
There is, however, always a pang of guilt when some innocent soul is catapulted into the global music scene; I hope Ian Brennan will work hard to take care of the boys. This could be a great opportunity for them & their community, but, if not properly handled, it could also be very destructive.
No doubt though, the music is simply wonderful. Do watch the Youtube clip - incredible talent & inventive instruments! [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound 30 July 2013
By Wendy
Format:Audio CD
I saw these at WOMAD at the weekend - both for the recording of BBC R4's Loose Ends programme and again performing a set. They are amazing. Like one of the other reviewers, I may not have bought it if sung in English due to the religious content but the CD is exquisite. I also hope that the group recieve some benefit for their work and that they go on to produce more of this unique work. I hope they also are protected from exploitation in the Western World.
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