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Various: Beating Heart Malawi

review malawi x1 cong

This is a hard album to review: it’s for a good cause but the quality is varied.

African music goes down well in the Review Corner, the rootsier the better (ideally one player on a two-string guitar and another with krakebs) so this looked promising: traditional music from the International Library of African Music remixed by artists ranging from Rudimental to Machinedrum and Kidnap Kid.

Unfortunately, the end result is patchy. Much of this music would be played for dancing or religious reasons, and uses repetition to get in a groove and help listeners achieve the trance-like state so essential for dancing or praying. Some is fun party music. The remixes that try and stick to the spirit tend to work much better.

Opener Amai Ndiwulule by Ibibio Sound Machine is one, a fun track with reggae overtones and a bass line that stays locked into a repetitive groove. Africable by Luke Vibert also works well early on, with finger piano and percussion, though some looped distorted vocals are a tad annoying. You can see what Bat Walk Mix by WxT is trying to do, but it’s little to do with Africa and, like too many of the tracks, loses its soul the more it moves into being an electronic track. You can be too clever.

Among the others that work are Mwana Wa by Afriquoi on CD2. Munthu by Drew Moyo and Sankha Dona by Sonye, both of which open with hand-clapping, make a decent go at staying true. As headliners, the excellent Rudimental do a good job of The Work by Beating Heart.

At the other end of the scale, Eyes by My Nu Leng goes for an industrial sound and does not work well at all.

This is one of 18 albums in the Beating Heart collection, which focuses on one country at a time. Proceeds go towards the Beating Heart food scheme and Garden To Mouth, which teaches crop-growing skills and nutritional knowledge.

All artists have given their time for free and if 1,500 copies of Beating Heart Malawi are sold, it will raise enough to provide a sustainable provision of food for a school of 500 children.

It’s better than putting £2 in collection tin and only getting a sticker: buy it, burn the best, and help feed some kids who are less fortunate. We got the CD for free so we donated £10 for a vegetable seeds donation. Buy the CD or make a donation at musicglue.com/beatingheart500/shop/.

If anyone donates £4,500 for a borehole, let us know and you can go on the front page of the Chron.

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