6 The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa
Three guys: one Swedish, one French and one Malawian by way of a junk shop in Clapton, East London. Globalisation can be good for something after all.
Esau Mwamwaya is the Malawian part of the equation and it is his voice that infuses these songs with a wonderful sense of fun and energy. The other two are responsible for the music, and already have a bit of name and following as the DJ duo Radioclit. The title Warm Heart of Africa captures perfectly the happy, poppy sound and you would have be half-dead for this not to put a smile on your face.
The title track is insanely catchy and you'll be singing along to the half intelligible lyrics and wondering if that really is cow bell after about thirty seconds. From the cheesy synth pop intro of Chalo to the beautiful slow-building Yalira this album just makes you happy to forget about everything else for forty-five minutes and lose yourself in its visceral thrills.
They are also responsible for the best version of M.I.A.s Paper Planes that I've heard. I'd recommend that you find a download of their mix-tape (which is still knocking around the interweb for free) and it is disguised as track number three – Tengazako.