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The Very Best's Mwamwaya and Karlberg Talk Process, M....

The Very Best

The Very Best

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The Very Best is a collaboration between Maliwian musician Esau Mwamwaya and the UK-based DJ/ production team of Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron, known as Radioclit.

Amazingly, the project took shape after an auspicious encounter at a second-hand shop in East London over three years ago. Mwamwaya, who had been a drummer and session musician in Mali, had emigrated to the UK a decade ago and owned the thrift store, located near Radioclit's studio. A used bike in the store caught Tron's eye one day and he wandered inside. And while the French producer eventually bought the bike, the real treasure was finding Mwamwaya. The men quickly struck up a conversation about music, became friends and eventually began working together at Radioclit's studio. What began as a conversation over a bike evolved into a great album called Warm Heart of Africa.

I caught up with Mwamwaya and Karlberg after a recent show here in New York City. They'd just finished tearing the roof off of Santos Party House and were in high spirits. We talked about the mutual respect that they have for one another, special album guests like M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and the pros and cons of Phil Collins.

And while the audio is a little low, Karlberg and Mwamwaya's enthusiasm makes up for that technical glitch. Damn you, New York, for being so loud! And please, no comments on the upside down mic cover. It was a long day.