For me, the term World Music used to be a red flag for “that aisle in the record store you stay away from.” Music was only relevant in my world if it was from my part of the world. Thankfully my ears have opened up.

The Very Best is a collaboration between three artists: Johan Karlberg, Esau Mwamwaya and Etienne Tron. They come from Sweden, Malawi and France, respectively, and have created a unique brand of music that transcends the traditional “world” genre.

After becoming obsessed with the album Warm Heart of Africa I had to find a way to contact these guys. They hijacked my ears and I wanted to thank them. Johan, one-third of this distinctive trio was kind enough to take a moment with me.

“We tend to watch a lot of nature films in the studio and have too many plants everwhere makin it feel like a jungle,” says Johan on how they set out creating the music they do. He remarks, “That works for whatever music we’re workin on, whether its African or American pop.”

The Very Best transcends all cultures, countries and styles. Taking dance, reggae, hip-hop and traditional Malawi music as their inspiration, the three have created a sound that set speakers on fire across the globe this past year. “Reactions have been great everywhere really. It’s amazing doing sold out shows in Europe and America then go do a festival in Malawi the next month,” says Johan.

The album received massive critical acclaim all over the world and rightfully so. Gareth Grundy of The Guardian UK Observer writes:

“Warm Heart of Africa has something to say to about the possibilities for music in a world made small by technology and its hand-maiden, globalisation.”

Their collaboration has produced songs that are layered with signature sounds from each artist. “We work in many different ways. Sometimes we work alone. Sometimes there’s two of us, sometimes there’s all three. Either it works or it doesn’t. Working with Esau is very easy and fun so that makes everything smooth, and we easily get in the right vibe cause of that.”

The crew’s global mindset not only shows in their music but reflects in their love for people. “Right now we’ve been doing some little things with OxFam to try to raise money for the earthquake victims in Haiti. We try to get involved when we can with things. At the end of the day it’s important for people to realize the small things make a difference. Most people can afford a few £ per month to a few different charities and thats a good start.”

Johan agrees with Love In Stereo’s mission: Together, we’re louder. “We could change the world over night if we all pulled together -” He goes on to say, “I think art can inspire and that’s a big thing. If art makes you feel something, whether it’s a painting or a song, that’s a good thing. If music can make you happy -if only for 3 minutes when you’re listening – then that’s positive energy being sent out. We all need to send out positive energy and focus our intention on things that will make our lives better, BUT also other peoples lives, all over the world.”

This interview was done by Love In Stereo co-creator Brad Montague. Below is his favorite song from The Very Best. Please do not ask him to do his accompanying dance to the song because he’ll do it.

Watch the video for Warm Heart of Africa
featuring Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend
: here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Comment

  1. Kristy:

    Very true! Makes a change to see sooenme spell it out like that. :)

    10:57 pm on February 2nd, 2016

Leave a Reply