The Good Ones – The Farmer

The Good Ones are a trio from Rwanda. Their new album, Rwanda, You Should Be Loved, will be released on November 8 via Anti-. Today the band released the first single and lyric video from the album. It’s called ‘The Farmer’. Let’s talk about it.

‘The Farmer’ leans into the folk, story-telling traditions of Rwandan music, but contemporary elements shape lyrics and production. The story here is of the vital role of farmers in culture. The work ethic, the personal sacrifice, and the irony of going without food so as to feed a nation is painfully illustrated. The sense of ‘otherness’ that American or western listeners may feel is immediately dissolved. Similar stories are emerging from our own agricultural communities.

“Nobody lives without eating. This is not news” is a line that exhibits the brutal truth, and also beauty in The Good Ones’ focus. They lean in on the essence, and expand themes from the center of the point.

Instrumentally, finger-picked guitars offer a bit of fret-board buzz. Things are parred down to the raw elements. For the main this is a naked-sounding track. Produced by Ian Breninan – whose resume includes other world music luminaries, Tinariwen, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and the Zomba Music Project.

Rwanda, You Should Be Loved features a number of highly-pedigreed collaborations from withint the USA. Nels Cline from Wilco, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, Fugazi’s Joe Lally, and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields – all lend energy to an intriguing project.


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