Published Apr 22, 2016Mumford & Sons have been bringing their vanilla-flavoured folk rock to stadiums around the world over the course of three LPs, and now they've announced a new collaborative record that draws inspiration from one trek in particular.
Titled Johannesburg, the upcoming five-song EP is a team effort featuring Baaba Maal, the Very Best and Beatenberg — and as the title implies, the new music was inspired by the band's travels in South Africa. It's due out on June 17.
The UK-born band visited the titular city on a sold-out South African tour last year — a jaunt that allowed the group to experience the country's huge appetite for live music and a youth culture that "is exploding with energy and rejuvenation." It was on this tour that Mumford & Sons built a relationship with tourmates the Very Best, and through that band they connected with Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. The project finally came to fruition once they brought South African group Beatenberg on board as well.
The set of songs was recorded over two all-day and all-night sessions at the South African Broadcasting Corporation with producer (and the Very Best member) Johan Hugo at the helm.
The resulting album is a collection of songs that marry "Afrobeat rhythms, Esau [Mwamwaya of the Very Best] and Baaba's voices and languages, over Western songwriting."
"Baaba really encourages ideas and brings the best out of the four us I think," Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett said, speaking about the collaboration process. "He's a natural leader, and you know you've struck the right chord (literally) because he'll open his mouth and all of a sudden the most epic vocal line with be riding over the top of the music. It's interesting, he won't simply sing over anything, he'll wait until he hears something in what we're offering him."
"They're serious, serious musicians," continued frontman Marcus Mumford, speaking about including Beatenberg on the project. "A few of us from our band grew up playing jazz and afrobeat stuff, so we had similar backgrounds in some musical respects, but they just took to an academic level whereas we are schoolboys in comparison."
Below, find the full tracklisting for Johannesburg and listen to "There Will Be Time" in the player beyond that. See Mumford & Sons' upcoming Canadian tour dates here.
1. There Will Be Time (ft. Babaa Maal)
2. Wona (ft. Babaa Maal, the Very Best & Beatenberg)
3. Fool You've Landed (ft. the Very Best & Beatenberg)
4. Ngamila (ft. Babaa Maal & the Very Best)
5. Si Tu Veux (ft. Babaa Maal & the Very Best)