Michael Mountain – or Mountain Mike as he sometimes goes by – is a reggae artist and small-scale farmer. The front porch of his small house in the remote village of Viboko is his favourite place, and from there he can clearly see life from a different point of view, and put his reflections into song.
“I met Mike about three years ago – playing in a tourist lodge in Nkhata Bay, Malawi. He’d come down from his village and his maize and tobacco farming to earn a little extra for his family through music. I was struck by his soulful voice and beautiful tales of life in rural Malawi – the hardships and the joys.”
Born by Malawi parents but brought up and schooled in Zambia before moving back to the land of his father, he is an enigmatic person; on one hand deeply rooted in the spirituality of the Rastafari movement, on the other, immersed in the local politics of being chief of a small village.
“Next time he came around I had gathered my mobile recording equipment and recorded the show. I gave him the music after a little editing, along with – I think – a bag of maize seed as a thank you. It was that time of year. We became good friends and whenever he came around, I used to bring my guitar along and join in. I still do sometimes.”
The recording of the album ‘Nowhere Else to Go’ was mainly done in Malawi with a backing band consisting of Aloys (a Swahili drummer with a flair for showmanship), the steady bass of Michael ‘Liberator’ of Mzuzu and Moto Wambili (a.k.a. Mattias of Spare Dog Records!) on guitars. Additional instruments were later recorded in Sweden where most of the backing vocals were done by Alva Gustavsson and Tove Mattisson – even if Danny Kalima actually does some singing on a few tracks.
“I remember visiting Michael’s home for the first time. I’d borrowed a bike and when I finally (after a few hours) made it to our meeting point, we still had three hours of cycling and walking up the mountain before reaching the little village. Nsima had never tasted as good that evening!”
Nowhere Else To Go – Official Music Video
Interview with Michael Mountain