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Mumford & Sons Take Global Inspiration in 'Johannesburg'

Here at GrooveVolt we take our ethnomusicology pretty seriously, which is why we were ecstatic when we found out Mumford & Sons were releasing a new African inspired collaborative EP - Johannesburg. It was created over a period of two days in South Africa, and features various artists - including Baaba Maal, The Very Best, and Beatenberg. It is, what we consider at GrooveVolt, a modern day "Graceland."

Though we thought this was a pretty ironclad EP, there were a few really cool things that stood out to us. First and foremost was Baaba Maal's voice; we weren't very familiar with him, but were delighted with his soothingly tranquil voice. A great way to describe his vocal style would be a Youssou N'Dour with a more pop-music-relevant voice. We thought all three of the tracks he touched on this EP are gold, however "There will be Time" certainly stood out from the pack.

Another aspect we really liked is that Mumford & Sons didn't just throw in a few African artists and call "Johannesburg" 'african inspired'; They really went the whole nine yards to make it more authentic, and african. For example, they make use of a lot of polyrhythmic hand percussion - an approach to rhythm most often associated with african music. This is, perhaps, best exemplified in "Wona," in which they also have a guitar lead reminiscent of Soukous.

Johannesburg is certainly an uplifting EP worthy of doing tedious activities to - such as washing the dishes to or cleaning up your apartment - or just going on a mindless jaunt through the city. Regardless, you should throw it up on Spotify and take in the beautiful weather.

Written by Techno Ted