For The Good Ones’ new album, Rwanda, You Should Be Loved, bandleader Adrien Kazigira originally composed over forty songs. Most were meditations on his now thirteen-year-old daughter, Marie-Claire, and the life-threatening tumor that has afflicted her left eye. The recording was done live without overdubs on Adrien’s farm and was imbued with the passing of producer Ian Brennan’s mother during the days that they were there together as well as a former founding band member recently having succumbed to his own demons.
Listen to the first single “The Farmer” and watch its lyric video HERE; “The Farmer” is a celebration of the critical role farmers play in a nation but also a lament that ironically, farmers themselves often cannot feed their own families.
Beginning in 1978 when they were still children, the group’s core members were first taught music by co-lead singer Janvier Havugimana’s older brother, who was blind and later perished in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. They formed the band as a healing process after the genocide and the original trio’s membership reunited Rwanda’s three tribes, with one member each from the Tutsi, Hutu, and Abatwa tribes. It was an active attempt to seek out “the good ones,” after having endured and witnessed unthinkable horrors.
Since they live without electricity and have had little access to devices to reproduce musical recordings, The Good Ones’ vocalization is based on the singing traditions and dialect of their local agricultural district. They utilize one-of-a-kind instruments as well, often incorporating their own farming tools as percussion. As primary songwriter Kazigira interweaves intricate harmonies with Havugimana in a style frequently referred to as “worker songs from the streets.” With their rural and remote hilltop origins, the harmonic similarities to American Bluegrass vocals is often eerie. Third member, Javan Mahoro, lends additional background vocals and percussion on select songs.
This fall The Good Ones will come to the United States to perform for the first time; they will be opening for Irish troubadour Glen Hansard on the Seattle, Portland and San Francisco dates of his upcoming fall tour and will be headlining select dates of their own in Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles and more. All upcoming dates are listed below.
9/24 – Seattle, WA – The Moore Theatre ^
9/25 – Portland, OR – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall ^
9/26 – Berkeley, CA – Ivy Room
9/27 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic Auditorium ^
9/28 – Washington DC – Rhizome
9/29 – New York, NY – McNally Jackson Bookseller’s Café
9/30 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
10/1 – Baltimore, MD – Red Emma
10/3 – San Francisco, CA – City Lights Bookstore
10/5 – Los Angeles, CA – Largo at the Coronet
^ - with Glen Hansard
Rwanda, You Should Be Loved Track Listing
1. The Farmer
2. Despite It All I Still Love You, Dear Friend (with Tunde Adebimpe)
3. Will You Be My Protector?
4. Where Did You Go Wrong, My Love? (with Nels Cline)
5. Young People Are the Future
6. Please Come Back To Me (with Corin Tucker)
7. Marciana, You Should Love
8. A Long, Sad Journey Watching You Die (with Kevin Shields)
9. Life Is Hard
10. Seraphinne, You are the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
11. My Wife is as Beautiful as a Sunset (with Joe Lally)
12. My Smartest Friend Has Lost His Mind
Pre-Order ‘Rwanda, You Should Be Loved’