Mumford and Sons have announced a new mini-album entitled ‘Johannesburg’, a product of their South African tour recording in the title city. The release features their touring partners Baaba Maal (a Senegalese music legend), Beatenberg (a South African pop group) and The Very Best (a London-based, Malawi-inspired jazz/ hip-hop act).
The mini-album was recorded over the course of two sessions in Johannesburg that the band have described as “all day and all night,” as part of a sizeable South African tour undertaken in January and February this year.
The blurb for the five-track release (track listing below) describes the album as follows:
“The South African Broadcasting Corporation had a room. It had two. Literally, two rooms. A few corridors away, and around the corner. It was a magnificent building though, all imposing wood panelling and endless corridors leading to more corridors. It had something a bit brutalist about it. It had a vibe.”
“The song which opens Johannesburg, ‘There Will Be Time’, is a belter. Tender but not shackled by any sense of restraint. It has that special inference of yearning that Mumford & Sons do so incredibly well, and when combining that with the musicianship of Baaba Maal’s glorious crew and his vocals which interweave mesmerisingly with that yearning thing, you’ve got something really quite otherworldly.”
“Otherworldly indeed. When the musicians amassed on stage in Pretoria to perform it together, a terrific storm raged overhead and the thunder seemed to crack with percussionist Mamadou Saar’s every other beat. It was quite something to behold. Pathetic fallacy, of sorts. In the rain the good people of Pretoria and its surrounding villages danced and embraced the moment. This one was theirs to embrace.”
View the trailer for the new release, due on June 17, via YouTube, below:
The band have described ‘The Very Best’ as the ‘glue’ of the new project, with Marcus Mumford saying: “The whole thing came together because of Johan [Hugo, The Very Best] really – and actually they had acted like sonic trailblazers in a lot of ways – marrying afrobeat rhythms, Esau and Baaba’s voices and languages, over Western songwriting.”
Winston Marshall continues “Through Johan we met the legend that is Baaba Maal, which has been one of the highlights of our career.”
“I had the good fortune of taking Baaba up on an invitation to his home town of Podor in Senegal for the Blues de Fleuve festival in 2013, and I also got to hear and play with Baaba and his musicians (with Johan at the helm) as they made Baaba’s very beautiful ‘The Traveller’ album which has recently been released.”
The first track from the album, ‘There Will Be Time’, featuring Baaba Maal, has been released on Spotify, listen below:
Mumford and Sons will headline British Summer Time Hyde Park this July, and recently soundtracked a film on homelessness. They have pledged to donate profits from their show in North Carolina to LGBT charities in protest at the state’s new ‘bathroom’ laws.
View the artwork for the forthcoming release via the band’s Facebook, below:
The full track listing for the mini-album is as follows:
There Will Be Time (with Baaba Maal)
Wona (with Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg)
Fool You’ve Landed (with The Very Best and Beatenberg)
Ngamila (with Baaba Maal and The Very Best)
Si Tu Veux (with Baaba Maal and The Very Best)