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The Very Best Warm Heart of Africa

The Very Best may have been born in a London furniture store, but the music casts an obvious eye toward Africa. Combining the beatmaking prowess of Radioclit with the unique vocal stylings of Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya, the project leans heavily on the West's romanticized version of African pop music and occasionally strays toward Lion King territory ("Yalira," "Angonde," and especially the title track, featuring an unfortunate guest appearance from Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig), but the propulsive pop of songs like "Nsokoto" and "Kada Manja" is strong enough to dash any visions of animated jungle creatures. "Chalo" and "Mfumu" are equally infectious, although the radio-ready '80s synths certainly wont help Mwamwaya escape his reputation as the "African Phil Collins."

Watch: The Very Best on XLR8R TV

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