Things are looking up for Kawala right now. Not only have they got an exciting tour on the horizon, which includes a night at London’s prestigious Kentish Town Forum, but also a mixtape in the offing and, to add to all of that, they have knocked up a delicious playlist for Far Out which offers a glimpse into what life is like on the road.
While the last year has been a devastating one for emerging bands, Kawala have managed to put their time to good use. The indie-folk group have continued to make a name for themselves despite the difficulties launched in their path. “It was hard to swallow at the beginning, especially since the first thing we lost was our dream tour supporting Bombay Bicycle Club,” singer Jim Higson tells Far Out. “But we chose to not take these things personally and knew that it wasn’t the only chance we’d ever get.”
Last summer, when every other band were twiddling their thumbs as live shows were pulled for the foreseeable future, Kawala took it into their own hands. They travelled around the UK, performing socially distanced gigs wherever and whenever they could. They set sail on July 23rd, travelling 1,500 miles across nine cities, and brought the joy of live music back to the people.
“I can tell the exact moment we came up with the idea,” Higson recalls. “We were walking through London Fields on a really hot day. This was after lockdown one. Everyone was sitting in their groups drinking beer. There was a sense of normality. And that’s what we aimed to do, bring a bit of normality back to peoples lives. We wondered if we were to pitch up, plug in and play would that add to the atmosphere and would people enjoy it.”
Their forthcoming mixtape arrives this summer, and Higson offers up a glimpse of what fans should expect from their most extensive body of work so far, which comes “perfectly in time for a hot summer”, Higson tells Far Out.
“It lays bare everything Kawala stand for, and we cannot wait for people to hear it,” he added. “It’s called Paradise Heights, and it’s a real journey. Comprised of old and brand new. We’re forever trying to keep our fans entertained, and we try our best to fill the gap where live music used to live. We have some ridiculous ideas that we hope suffice our fans’ needs.”
In celebration of the good times that lay ahead for Kawala, they have created an exclusive playlist for Far Out. Commenting on the selections, Higson says: “Every song on there is a story. Let me start with Bofou Safou by Amadou & Mariam. This is a song that always gets us into a good mood and one of the first you might hear in the back of van when we get on the road.”
Although there is one track on the playlist that they describe as “bants also kinda a bang bang tune too”, see if you can work out what Kawala are referring to.
Check out their brand new cover of Griff and Honne’s ‘1,000,000 x Better’, as well as their exclusive tour-bus playlist below.
Kawala’s tour-bus playlist:
LEISURE – ‘Got It Bad’
Matt Corby – ‘Talk It Out’
Amadou & Mariam – ‘Bofou Safou’
Common Saints – ‘Idol Eyes’
Africa Express – ‘Morals’
John Legend – ‘I Think I Just Met My Wife’
Wesley Bright – ‘You Don’t Want Me’
Khruangbin – ‘People Everywhere’
George Ogilvie – ‘Foreign Hands’
Noname – ‘Diddy Bop’ (feat. Cam O’bi & Raury)
Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – ‘Mudzimu Ndiringe’
Sylvan Esso – ‘Ferris Wheel’