Musicians Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron first met Malawi-born Esau Mwamwaya running a junk shop outside their studio. The European production team, which also makes music under the name Radioclit, was eager to befriend Mwamwaya, whom they thought was an African drummer. Turns out, he was much more. The three have since formed a group called The Very Best. They released Warm Heart of Africa in October.
The Very Best (from left): Johan Karlberg, Esau Mwamwaya and Etienne Tron.
Esau Mwamwaya sings with Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron in the band The Very Best.
Courtesy of Green Owl Records
"We always used to call Esau the African Phil Collins because he's a drummer and a singer," Karlberg says.
Singing in his native Chichewa, Mwamwaya made an instant impression on Karlberg.
"The melody was what hit me the first time I heard him sing," Karlberg says. "The harmonies and the way he makes everything sound like a chorus. I always say it feels like he is standing on top of a mountaintop singing to this big group of people."
"Since I was in high school, I used to compose a lot of songs," Mwamwaya says. "And I remember I had a 40-page book full of songs. So it's like, when Johan gives me a bunch of tracks, some of them I have the words already. I just translate them to the beat. That's what I do."