Spoek Mathambo, Jack Steadman and Peter Hook play ‘Control’ at Africa Express, The Ritz, Manchester. Photo by Simon Phipps

“This is the best project I’ve ever been involved in in my whole career” – Baaba Maal

“Making music in Mali with Africa Express was amazing, humbling, life changing experience, a time in my life I will never forget. I’m just so happy I went with my gut extinct and got involved. Being on the album is just an added bonus really” – Ghostpoet
‘The Africa Express was one of the most worthwhile and enjoyable projects I have ever been involved in… A true reminder of why I started playing music in the first place… I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”  – Carl Barat (The Libertines)

“Africa and its’ friends were there on the train around the UK, the music was beautiful, the audience amazed..! I was elated by this extraordinary and unique adventure, which also happened to be an opportunity for me to spend time with artists that I love and I do not often get to see. I thank all the organizers for their concern about our comfort and our serenity. I miss you all!” – Rokia Traore

“I was a pleasure for me to live through this train experience. Never has a train been so musical.  I loved the sense of togetherness and complicity between the artists, and I also really appreciated the ‘pop ups’ when I had the opportunity to play in hospitals and schools.  Africa Express is magical every time.  Thanks to everyone.” – Amadou Bagayoko (Amadou & Mariam)

“Every time an invitation comes to join Africa Express I know I’m in for a rich and rewarding musical experience, and the train was no exception! The vibe and camaraderie made for just the best breeding ground for some exciting and unexpected collaboration. Long may this wonderful organization flourish! ” – John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)

“A fabulous experience; well organized and gathering an array of wonderful artists whose aim and vision was to tell and express love and the beauty of music” – Fatoumata Diawara

“That indefatigable train with more than 80 happy, talented and smiling musicians on board will remain engraved on my memory: the countryside in northern England, those animals in the fields, those Congolese jams in every train station, those shows in all kinds of neutral spaces, those rehearsals on the train, those concerts in front of beautiful audiences and some huge meals…all that thanks to a team of organizers who were attentive, courageous, friendly … I dare confirm that this whole experience taught me a lot and will remain for me the biggest musical adventure of my life, and I say that sincerely from the heart.” – Afel Bocoum

“For me, and I think many other of the Western musicians, this was unfamiliar. We spent weeks rehearsing for our tours, and indeed would always have at least one practice on the train before each show. Once on stage, the African musicians would take what we rehearsed, grab hold of it and hurl it into places we never imagined. I found it exhilarating. As we said “goodbye” with exchanges of email addresses and promises of future projects, I felt inspired like never before. An unlocking had occurred. To be watching was a privilege, let alone to be involved. I am forever thankful.”  – Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club)

“Me, Jupiter, and my group, Otwess International would like to thank the organizers of Africa Express for inviting us along. It allowed us to get to know music from elsewhere and above all to share the diversity of international culture with famous artists like Damon Albarn, Amadou and Baaba Maal. We’ll go back to the Congo with our minds strengthened and rich in material. Thanks again and good luck for the future…” – Jupiter Bokondji (Jupiter & Okwess International)

“Being a part of this fantastic adventure has been eye opening for us as musicians and as people, from busking in the streets of Stoke, playing with Amadou in a Bradford hospital or just the sheer energy on the stage at the London show as we all piled on for one final song together. Thanks to everyone who made it happen and for letting us be a part of such a wonderful endeavour.” – The Temper Trap

“Definitely was a shock coming down from the high that was Africa Express.  Huuuge thanks for including me in the lovely experience…really and truly the best tour I’ve ever been part of.  Thanks and regards to the whole team for making it so awesome!” – Spoek Mathambo

“Thanks a million for having me on board. What an awesome experience!! Really honoured to be involved in something so meaningful. The music was truly the essence of the project and brought everyone together. We made enough music to last a life time, and the AE adventure created memories that will also last a lifetime in spirit and in truth. I will be holding onto the events of September 2012 for eternity…BOOM!!”  – Pauli the PSM

“I was blowed away…you made HISTORY. I’m just proud to have witnessed this moment, so proud to have met those fantastic artists. The strength of AE is  the management / entourage / friends who force all to be more open and more concerned about other people’s music and life.”  – Baloji

“Africa express is an experience like no other. Being one of over 80 musicians from all over the world let loose to be themselves and create music on a travelling train was the stuff of fantasies for me. Primarily because I understand that, for us to truly create something NEW and even revolutionary,we must collaborate. I am always excited by the idea of doing something new … I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my experience on the Africa Express.” – Thandiswa

“Thank you so much for inviting me!  Honestly one of the best experiences of my life.”  – Kyla la Grange

“We would like to say thank you very much that you invited us for Africa Express. It was an unbelievably well organized tour. All of us in Krar Collective had really nice time, a very good experience to be with more than 80 musicians. Thanks to Damon and especially Stephen who gave us this chance and was working with us very hard and treated us like family members. We were very very happy … Thanks too to all the musicians. This was a good experience how to work with others and we met good people and we learned different things from them” – Temesgen Zeleke, Genet Assefa  & Robel Grum Taye (Krar Collective)

“I’ve been a fan of Baaba Maal since i first heard ‘Firin’ in Fouta’ in the 90s. When we got to the Africa Express compound, Dave, Will and I were pretty overwhelmed. I sat down and closed my eyes and asked the skies for some guidance – my band mates looked on, confused at my sudden urge of spirituality. Suddenly, I felt a strong energy on my left. I open my eyes and start walking towards this feeling. I see a man lying on the rugs on the floor. I say hello and present myself. I ask him his name – it was Baaba Maal. We ended up playing “Sidiki” my favorite cut from “Firin’ in fouta” that night with him and a few other musicians. Only at African Express – thanks for an unforgettable time.” – Nicolas Jaar

“Buzzing with tour still!!!  The best train ride I’ve had my peeps.  Much music was played.  Hours and hours and hours and hours of laughter…TOO MUCH COMEDY ON THE TRAIN. The biggy of all is the talented awesome human beings of Africa Express. It has to be the greatest team I have been involved in. The train tour never lacked passion and generosity throughout. The best way I could describe the experience is like…you had to be there!!!”  – Mim Suleiman

“i just made it back to Cairo last night and i have to say i’m suffering africa express withdrawal symptoms now…i want to wake up and hop on the train and jam everyday….thats where our homes should be.  i cant even begin to figure out how to thank you for the great oppertunity and the great chance to be on such a great event with such great legends wether its the musicians or you and the guys who made that epic a reality. i really hope from the bottom of my heart this happens again….and i reallly hope to see u and everyone else soon.”  – Karim ‘Rush’ Adel (Arabian Knightz)

“Words are only going to sell what I have to say next short ,but if I had to choose a few to describe the Africa Express experience I would use some of these and that’s still not enough!: Amazing, euphoric, inspirational, elevating, peaceful, hopeful, beautiful and fucking Epic!!!! I’d say Live 8 is a parody compared to what Damon and the Africa Express team have achieved with sheer determination and genuine love for the culture of Africa. Proud to have been a part of it! Xx”  – Terri Walker

“The time on the train was amazing, it was like being part of the best international musical circus – and my good god did people get a heck of a show with Cirque de Damon. I felt honoured and lucky to even be on there and on top of that to play with such amazing musicians with NO EGO? I was like a kid in a musical candy store. It was amazing, i miss the train, normal trains are just never gunna do it for me now.” – Seye (The Very Best)

“It was just magical!!” – Mehdi Haddab

“The Africa Express train was one of the most amazing experiences ever for me. The people, the music, the train, the shows, the family that we became for a week. I tried not to come on to the train with too much expectations, but not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how totally mind blowingly cool it would be!  It will be a week that i look back on for the rest of my life, that’s for sure.” – Johan Hugo (The Very Best)

“Inspiring, tiring and wonderfully challenging … the dream like nature of turning up and being surrounded by hand selected, talented musicians.  I think that feeling was the closest anyone will ever get to leaving for Hogwarts. The Cardiff hotel had a huge entrance hall with a bar and I remember walking in after the show and it looking like a Greek philosophers amphitheater. All sorts of talented individuals with arms round each other bonding, sharing and challenging each other’s ideas. I said that on that night we were the most varied and resourceful band in the world. It was not about individuals anymore.  It was definitely the most musically healthy week of my life.”  – Reeps One

This entry was posted in 2012 Africa Express Train, 2012 Africa Express Train UK, Read, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Colin

    The show in Granary Square was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to in my life. Thanks so much to all the artists and organisers. Can’t wait for the next one :)

  • SueinBristol

    Thank you all so much –  musicians and organisers. The show in Bristol was the most exciting concert I have been to. It has stayed with me ever since. I so hope I will get the opportunity to see Africa Express again

  • Carolcardiff

    Saw the Cardiff show and loved the atmosphere you created and the obvious respect and love that everyone on stage showed to each other…music transcends boundaries and inspires collaboration and love. Please keep going with this project. Some of my friends weren’t so positive as they think all African music should be “traditional” but I disagree and believe that you were on the right track (excuse the really bad pun!) as music is dynamic and must and should keep evolving.    

  • Rob Kay

    Glasgow was epic: thanks to you all.

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