Photo credits from CNN.
The Malawi Mouse Boys – yes you read that correctly! This is an interesting 15 minute interview yesterday on ABC’s Radio National with live performance by the amazing Malawi Mouse Boys, a world music group discovered in a remote part of the country about 150 km from Mulanje selling mouse hamburgers to passing traffic. They were discovered by a music producer and taken to the US where it was it was learned they were not familiar with any contemporary music or even Elvis Presley. They herald from Balaka in SE Malawi, on the Shire River which emanates from Lake Malawi as it makes its way down rapids towards the Zambezi.
They spend their days beside a dusty freeway scratching a living by selling an unusual roadside snack to passing motorists: barbecued mice on sticks.
But when no cars are in sight and the trade in mice kebabs is slow, this group of childhood friends bring out their rudimentary guitars and put on an impromptu performance.
And that’s how Ian Brennan, the American Grammy-winning producer famous for his work with nomadic rockers Tinariwen, came to unearth his latest music gem: the Malawi Mouse Boys.
Two years ago, Brennan embarked on a mission to discover hidden musical talent in Malawi, just as he’d done before with many other bands.
However, after more than two weeks and over 2,000 kilometers of fruitless driving along bumpy tracks, Brennan had found nothing. But his luck changed one evening when he spotted a young man strumming his battered guitar by a two-lane highway in rural Malawi.
Not thinking twice, the producer immediately did a u-turn, went up to the young man, named Alfred, and asked him to play a song.
What followed was a glorious moment, bathed in the flaming colors of the setting sun casting a soft orange glow in the evening air.