The four-member Malawi Mouse Boys band is a collective of musicians who have sung traditional choral gospel music together since they were young children. Their songs of faith and love combine uplifting harmonic voices alongside scrap-built, four-string guitars and makeshift tin can percussion. This self-taught band has defied adversity, garnering rave reviews from CNN ("a musical gem... honest and soulful"), The Guardian ("fine harmony work") and BBC ("a refreshingly unencumbered sound"). Having embarked on their first American tour, the October 7 performance as part of Live@365's Fall 2014 series at Elebash Hall at CUNY's Graduate Center is Malawi Mouse Boys' New York City premiere.
The Mouse Boys' first several years as performers saw them working around the clock at local roadsides; singing, whistling and waving their eponymous street-meat mouse-kebab wares to passing traffic. The Grammy-award winning producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Jovanotti, The Good Ones) first happened upon the group at a roadside performance. Brennan was impressed enough to bring the Boys to the prestigious WOMAD World Music Festival, where their live show met with rave reviews. Brennan went on to produce both the band's 2012 debut recording He Is #1 and their latest album, 2014's Dirt Is Good. Both albums feature beautiful rustic harmonies and evoke easy comparison to the sound of traditional African-American rural gospel music.