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.
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).