Rusangano the perfect Choice for album of the year

Limerick based trio gunning for award success

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Rusangano the perfect Choice for album of the year

Rusangano Family - who are up for the Choice Music Prize

LIMERICK-based trio Rusangano Family go in search of Choice Music prize glory this Thursday.

The rap/hip-hop/electro outfit have a very strong chance for winning the RTÉ Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year for 2016 for the album Let the Dead Bury the Dead, bursting as it is with social commentary on modern Ireland.

They face strong competition from fellow nominees All Tvvins, Bantum, Wallis Bird, The Divine Comedy, Lisa Hannigan, Katie Kim, Overhead, The Albatross and We Cut Corners - all of whom will perform on the night, along with the Limerick based trio. James Vincent McMorrow is also nominated.

The winner of album of the year for 2016 will be announced this Thursday night at Dublin's Vicar Street venue.

Rusangano’s nomination, while expected, is thoroughly deserved for an electric and powerful album, one that was bursting with samples from the inner reaches of producer MynameisjOhn’s mind and driven by the insightful, socially engaged lyrics of vocalists God Knows Jonas and MuRLI.

It is perhaps the most vital album of the last twelve months, drawing heavily on themes of immigration and the places and sounds that have influenced each of them in turn.

MynameisjOhn – alter ego of Clare man John Lillis, who plies his trade in Limerick – Zimbabwean born, Shannon raised, Limerick identifying rapper God Knows Jonas and vocalist MuRLI – based in Limerick, but of Togolese descent – formed Rusangano Family in 2015, but have been collaborating for a number of years.

John Lillis – aka MynameisjOhn – told the Leader that "there was a very important message in the album that we made, it was very sincere from where we were coming from, and I think 2016 was a mad year and it wasn’t like we were trying to...it wasn’t necessarily like we had our finger on the pulse, it was just that we we were trying to talk about issues that were honest to us at that time. 

"For us, it is great, it gives a nod that the music being made here – I don’t know if you want to put a hip-hop tag on it or whatever – but, it is like, hey, this is actually standing on its own.”

The 12th annual Choice - backed for the first time by RTE this year - "celebrates and acknowledge the best in Irish recorded music".

It has become one of the highlights of the calendar since its inception in 2005 and is awarded to the Irish Album of the Year, as chosen from a shortlist of ten releases by a panel of twelve Irish music media professionals and industry experts.

The winning act will receive €10,000, a prize fund which has been provided by IMRO and IRMA.