The Mix Tape: "Yalira"
Play “Yalira” loud. As loud as you can bear. Do this so you can hear the booming drums, the chants, and the string plucking that sounds like falling rain. The rhythm is almost chant-like (in the best way) and bound to deliver one into a trancelike state—without the aid of pharmaceuticals. The people responsible for this magic? Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and DJ duo Radioclit of The Very Best, a group that combines the best of modern music with the traditional sounds of Africa. And unless you speak Chichewa, Mwamwaya’s national language, you won’t understand a word, but who cares? (Music isn’t called the universal language for nothing.) My kids roam around the room in an impassioned interpretive dance when they hear it. In the middle of the song, Mwamwaya calls out to London, New York, Paris, and Lilongwe. Wherever you are, just go ahead and download the entire album right now. It will lift you up. —Anna Pellicioli