Abatwa (the Pygmy)


Beguiling acoustic sounds from the margins

Ian Brennan (Tanzania Albinism Collective, Malawi Mouse Boys, Hanoi Masters) has come up trumps again. This is a man who’s made it his mission to seek out and spread the music of the margins – the sounds of the world’s forgotten corners and forgotten people. They might be prisoners in Malawi or war survivors in Cambodia, but if there’s important music to be made, he and his microphone will find it. His latest project is Abatwa, the endangered ‘pygmy’ tribe of rural Rwanda recorded by Ian and put out as the album Why Did We Stop Growing So Tall? on his Glitterbeat label. Described by The Observer as “remarkable”, we’re inclined to agree. It’s a beguiling lo-fi mix of soothing vocals and improvised string instruments, shot through with pride, elegance and no small amount of dignity. This is the sound of grace under pressure.

Check out our Discover #WOMAD2018 Spotify playlist here