Music Review: Mumford & Sons take auxiliary role in Afropop adventure

The controversies spawned by Paul Simon’s Graceland have never quite gone away; for some, white Western dudes co-opting traditional African music is just too suggestive of colonialism for comfort. But part of that skepticism has to come from Simon’s using the record to establish his pop-icon prominence—particularly in light of the substantial contributions from other established native musicians that got limited, sometimes belated, recognition for it. More than a quarter-century after Graceland, those issues still loom in the background as international rock stars Mumford & Sons (like it or not, the label applies) release their own African foray with the mini-album Johannesburg.

There’s far less cause for uproar here, however: The London foursome go to admirable lengths to acknowledge and showcase their collaborators, making Johannesburg a true partnership rather than a novelty by faux-worldly hotshots. Resulting from Mumford & Sons’ extensive tour of South Africa and …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *