Malawi Mouse Boys: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Jul 1, 2020

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


This week we're taking the Tiny Desk (home) concerts to places rarely visited; yesterday was Seoul, South Korea. Today we take you to Malawi in Southeastern Africa to meet Nelson Mulligo of the Malawi Mouse Boys. We see his two-room home in the opening shot where he and his family live without plumbing or electricity. Then we see Nelson, standing below the power lines, holding his homemade guitar singing, "I'm So Tired of You." It's a song that sings out the evils of poverty, a life of hard physical work, of making money scavenging for mice amongst boars and snakes so they can sell them as roasted mice shish kabobs along the roadside. We only get one song, and even that cuts off abruptly, but I was deeply moved when producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, The Good Ones) sent it my way. He and his wife Marilena Umuhoza Delli met and recorded the Malawi Mouse Boys in 2011. You can hear Ian Brennan tell his story on NPR's Weekend Edition. If you fall in love with what you hear, give a listen to the entire band harmonize. You can find their music on Bandcamp here. Even though the group played Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival in 2015, they still live in poverty. Support what you love.

SET LIST

  • "I'm So Tired of You"

MUSICIANS

Nelson Mulligo: guitar

CREDITS

Producer: Bob Boilen; Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.