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THE GOOD ONES
''KIGALI Y' IZAHABU''
(RWANDA, 2010) @
Una vez más, el amigo 007 nos sorprende con sus contribuciones. Gracias, en nombre de todos los gnomos del Bosque!!
The Good Ones is a trio of Rwandan genocide survivors who play joyous, acoustic love songs written in the ancient local, Kinyarwanda street dialect of their nation's capital, Kigali. Adrien Kazigira, Stany Hitimana and Jeanvier Havugimana recorded the songs collected on Kigali Y' Izahabu over the course of one summer evening on the back porch of a friend's home. The primary obstacle to recording the group was that the musicians showed up with only one guitar for two players, and that guitar was missing two strings. Hitimana "played bass" on the 4-string and a beat-up acoustic was located for the second guitarist, the sullen, primary songwriter Kazigira who interweaves intricate harmonies with co-singer Havugimana.. In a style often referred to as "worker songs from the streets, " these simple, direct and plaintive love songs speak more to the healing power of peace than a thousand academic treatises or preachy goodwill ambassadors ever could.
Toiling at hard labor and subsisting on less than 50 cents a day in one of the ten poorest countries in the world, the hard-won spirit of these aging war-veterans shines through in The Good Ones' yearning voices. Kazigira, 47, wrote 8 of the 12 songs found on the album and both plays and sings. He cites Bob Marley and reggae as his major influences. Hitimana, 47, on lead guitar and "bass, " sometimes teaches music in Kigali and finds inspiration in the music of Santana. And harmony singer Jeanvier, 38, who also plays guitar and sings lead on his own compositions, is most influenced by the Caribbean dance music called Zouk. The trio is punk embodied: barefoot, bandaged and jaundiced; armed with broken, mismatched-stringed, borrowed guitars; but singing angelically from amidst a landlocked country that the world abandoned.
Kigali Y' Izahabu is essentially an intimate field recording that even captures the howling and barking of dogs in the background, and it was recorded by two-time Grammy-nominated producer Ian Brennan, who has worked with artists such as Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Flea, TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, Richard Thompson and many others.
Brennan traveled throughout Rwanda, hoping to document some of the country's contemporary music, but up until his mission-affirming encounter with The Good Ones, he had been left wanting. As Brennan reports: "They were standing in the dark, their eyes downcast and restless, and holding only one guitar between them. From 100-feet away, I knew instantly that there was something special about them, a feeling one is lucky to experience even once in a lifetime. By that point, I'd already visited literally every recording-studio in the capital (Kigali) and surrounding areas over two weeks and listened to hundreds of artists, but to no avail. This meeting had been set up through a mutual friend and the instant the band opened their mouths to sing, it was as if the universe reached down to tap me on the shoulder and say, 'What these guys do is precious and rare. Don't fuck it up.'"
The Good Ones' Kigali Y' Izahabu Out Now
Posted by Eric on November 9th, 2010
It's a really special day for us here in the Dead Oceans camp. We're honored and humbled to release The Good Ones' Kigali Y' Izahabu. We've talked about the three Rwandan genocide survivors behind the music and the world traveling producer whose lucky encounter resulted in its recording, but at its core, it's a record of simple acoustic love songs with undeniable melodies. And somedays, that's all it needs to be. Its many champions would agree:
"This is an important recording not only for its stellar musical quality, but for its humanity as well" â€” AllMusic
"The trio's harmonies are the key, with the voices dovetailing majestically on undulating delights like 'Eudia' and 'Amargorwa y' Abagabo.'" â€” Uncut, 4/5 Stars
"Unpolished and unrefined two-part harmonies rarely come more moving than on these 12 songs...These guys have been through wars and now survive on pennies â€” the fact that they want to sit and sing love songs for us should be enough, but the raw, emotional results are undeniably impressive." â€” MOJO, 4/5 Stars
"The Good Ones' three-man harmonies are about as slack and welcoming as any porch-recorded music you've heard. "Sara"...is undeniable." â€” FADER
The Good Ones featured on Spinner's "Around the World" column by Steve Hochman, interview with Ian Brennan
Posted by Stefania on November 2nd, 2010
Steve Hochman spoke with Ian Brennan about finding something extraordinary in The Good Ones, and how the group are a rare gem in Rwanda.
Read this great in-depth piece over at Hochman's "Around the World" Spinner column.
Given the inconsistency of Rwandan musical traditions, where did this come from? What were these young men's influences?
"If you ask them, Adrien says Bob Marley, Stany says Santana and Jeanvier says he liks zouk music, a Caribbean style, " he says. "The fact that Bob Marley is the first person Adrien talks about makes sense in that there's this social consciousness. And the other thing really amazing about the recording and discovery process beyond the songs being beautiful and that they have this unique way of singing with the interweaving of the voices is that nearly every song on the album is a love song. I knew this because they told me and something like five out of the 12 songs are names of women. That's a very beautiful statement of live that omits the chaos with which they live."
Kigali Y' Izahabu is out on Tuesday! Pre-order the album here and a portion of the proceeds will go to Stories for Hope and the Kigali Memorial Centre.
The Good Ones' debut album, Kigali Y' Izahabu, is the sound of hope. Simple, acoustic love songs recorded in one summer evening on the back porch of a friend's home in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali. With their direct, plaintive and universally likable melodies, this trio of genocide survivors speak to the healing powers of peace and hard-won spirit. Today, we make this inspiring collection of songs available now for all pre-order.
And as a part of pre-order launch, we will dedicate a portion of the proceeds to two worthy and noble Rwandan-focused charities, Stories for Hope and The Kigali Memorial Centre.
For the next generation of Rwandans, those who bear the heavy burden of a violent legacy, Stories for Hope pairs these young people with their elders to hear the crucial family stories about genocide and survival, along with rich cultural legacies. Against a conspiracy of silence, stories are recorded on CDs for youth, and preserved in Rwanda's National Archives, as well as made available on the official Stories for Hope site.
The Kigali Memorial Centre was opened on the 10th Anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The Centre is a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place for people to grieve those they lost. The site's Education Centre, Memorial Gardens and National Documentation Centre of the Genocide are a moving tribute to those lost, but also serve as an educational tool for the next generation of Rwandans.
Kigali Y' Izahabu is essentially an intimate field recording that even captures the howling and barking of dogs in the background. It was recorded by two-time Grammy-nominated producer Ian Brennan, who has worked with artists such as Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Flea, TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, Richard Thompson and many others.