Under Review

The Good Ones

Kigali Y’ Izahabu (Dead Oceans)

Review By Nathaniel Bryce

22 Sara
Beauty can shine brightly even in the most forgotten dusty corners of the earth, offering little glimmers of pure hope and love that beat strongly with the pulse of life. It was out from the shadows that producer Ian Brennan spotted two figures approaching, carrying a weathered four-stringed guitar between them and the glow of something special. Part way through a two-week quest in Rwanda in search of interesting music that moved him, Brennan knew at first glance that he had found what he was after. That night two of the three musicians known as the Good Ones played him a haunting pretty song called “Sara,” promising to return the next evening with their third member for a “proper” recording session. This session, 12 songs done in one take over the course of an evening, is Kigali Y’ Izahabu, a stunning album that acts almost as a field recording or snapshot of a life most have never seen nor heard. Sung in their native Kinyarwanda street tongue, these songs rely on feeling and inflection. Played simply with beat up guitars, the tapping of a foot and some wonderful harmonies, the Good Ones’ sparse joyous acoustic love songs of faith and friendship tap into a deep well of goodness and offer a glimpse into the resiliency and strength of spirit. These hopeful street songs act as a call to gather and to stand strong in the face of it all. Indeed, the humble folk songs, played out on a porch in some dusty messed up part of the earth, are a rare gem worth digging for.