Album review: Mumford & Sons' Johannesburg is a rich blend of folk sounds and African rhythms

Johannesburg Mumford & Sons (Glassnote) Four stars Mumford & Sons’ five-song EP is a tonal and rhythmic departure from their past three albums. Written with Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, Malawian group The Very Best and South African band Beatenberg, ­Johannesburg blends Mumford’s folk sounds with African rhythms and instruments with rich results. Marcus Mumford harmonises […]

Johannesburg

Mumford & Sons

(Glassnote)

Four stars

Mumford & Sons’ five-song EP is a tonal and rhythmic departure from their past three albums. Written with Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, Malawian group The Very Best and South African band Beatenberg, ­Johannesburg blends Mumford’s folk sounds with African rhythms and instruments with rich results.

Marcus Mumford harmonises beautifully with Maal, who sings in his native Pulaar language. Maal also sings in French and the closing song, Si Tu Veux, is a showcase for his powerful voice.

A dramatic call of drums and layered harmonies open Fool You’ve Landed before Mumford introduces the notion of “downtown hair and high-rise eyes”.

Incorporating such traditional instruments as the djembe (West African drum) and kora (harp), this EP recalls other pop ventures into the musical heritage of other ­cultures, such as Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints (1990).

For Johannesburg it feels like five songs are not enough.

Source: art & life

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