the good ones’ center healing, history, and family on “the farmer”
By Nathan Leigh
September 19, 2019
A lot of artists like to claim “my art is my activism,” but for Rwanda’s The Good Ones, there’s a rare truth to it. The three-piece band formed in the wake of the Rwandan genocide that tore the country apart 25 years ago. In its original incarnation, each of the three members came from one of three different Rwandan tribes, the Tutsi, Hutu, and Abatwa. The name itself alludes to seeking out “the good ones” to try to come together and heal. Led by primary songwriter and guitarist Adrien Kazigira, the trio’s music is stripped down, using largely acoustic and often homemade instruments, but intensely emotional.
The Good Ones’ honest and unflinching, yet hopeful music has earned them some big-name fans over the past few years, several of whom appear on their forthcoming record. Fugazi’s Joe Lally, Slater Kinney’s Corin Tucker, and TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe each contribute to Rwanda, You Should Be Loved. But at the center is the interplay between co-singers Kazigira and Janvier Havugimana and multi-instrumentalist Javan Mahoro. The latest was recorded on Kazigira’s farm, where he lives with his family without electricity or running water, so it’s fitting that the first single is “The Farmer,” a song about the irony of farmers struggling to feed their own families. Adrien’s raspy voice rings out over a rhythmic acoustic guitar line, blending in and out of Havugimana and Mahoro’s harmonies. The unadorned production treads a careful line, letting the emotional honesty of the vocals carry the weight of the song.
The Good Ones are headed on tour this fall, playing some dates with Glen Hansard leading up to the release of Rwanda, You Should Be Loved November 8th.
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
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