The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests Live Album Giveaway

Just last Friday we released our latest album, Africa Express Presents… The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests. The record features live performances from Paul Weller, Bassekou Kouyate, Faia Younan and many more, where each track was picked from the Orchestra’s five shows across Europe this summer. Whilst the album is out now (you can buy it here) and available to stream over at Google Play Music, we’ve decided to share the magic and offer two lucky winners their own copy of the album. Pitchfork’s Kevin Lorenzo gave it an 8.0 stating that “As an exercise in technical genius it is astounding“, and The Independent, MOJO, Q Magazine and the Evening Standard have all given it four stars.

For your chance to get your hands on the album that brought together some of Syria’s best classical musicians and artists from around the world, just sign up to our mailing list below. And in case you needed convincing, check out Bassekou Kouyate, Majd Jredah and Seckou Keita performing ‘Al Ajaleh’ at the Southbank Centre show in June.

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Terms and Conditions: The competition is open to entrants in UK. All entries must be received by 21st Dec 2016. A winner will be selected at random and notified within three days of the above closing date by email. The winner will then have three days to respond and claim the prize. The winner will be required to supply details of a valid delivery/postal address. Once confirmed, the prize will be shipped free of charge. By entering this giveaway you confirm that Africa Express are allowed to contact you via email only with information on new products, shows or competitions. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time.

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Album Giveaway

Legendary Benin musicians Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou have released their new album Madjafalao and it’s out now! The album follows the release of Cotonou Club in 2011, their first new record since the early ’80s. The band, founded in Benin in 1968 by bandleader Mélomé Clément, reached popularity across West Africa throughout the 1970s, recording over 50 albums and playing alongside greats such as Fela Kuti. The name “poly-rythmo’ was born out of the plethora of influences and rhythms that inspired the band who brought together sounds from traditional Vodoun rituals to funk, Nigerian Afro-Beat, Ghanaian high-life and more. The 80s saw the band go into indefinite hiatus,  only returning to action following re-releases from labels like Soundway and Analog Africa. The band reformed in 2008 and toured the world to critical acclaim. Despite the death of founder Mélomé Clément in 2012, singer Vincent Ahehehinnou, bass player Gustave Bentho and singer Loko Pierre decided to keep the Poly-Rythmo flame alive and after a few months hiatus they resumed rehearsals and started composing new songs, tracks which would eventually form the basis of Madjafalao.

To celebrate, Africa Express have teamed up with Because Music to bring 4 luck winners a copy of the album. Simply share this post on twitter or facebook to be in with a chance to win! Competition winners will be contacted on Monday 5th Dec at 12pm. Good luck.


Poly-rythmo photo by Florent Mazzoleni

Header photo TP Orchestre Poly Rythmo session at bar Coco Beach, Cotonou, taken by Youri Lenquette 06/2016


Mali's BKO Quintet on UK Tour

BKO Quintet hail from Bamako, Mali and are bringing their self titled brand of ‘World and Roll’ to the UK.  Renowned artists in their own right, the five band members fuse the sounds of their griot heritage to deliver a traditional take on contemporary Mali. With talented percussionist Ibrahima Sarr who has toured with Omou Sangare, vocals from virtuoso Fassara Sacko whose innovation is rooted in the griot tradition, djelingoni master Abdoulaye Kone (who has travelled the world with Salif Keita and Tiken Jah Fakoli),  Nfali Diakité donsongoni player and singer, and Aymeric Krol, this band is not to be missed.

The tour kicks off with a free show on Sunday 27th November at London’s Hootananny in Brixton. If you can’t make it, check out the other dates below and clear your diaries!
27/11 – Hootananny Brixton London – free entry
28/11 – Sound Control Manchester –
29/11 – The Parish, Huddersfield –
30/11 – student workshop (sold out), Liverpool
01/12 – 24 Kitchen Street, Liverpool –
02/12 – The Canteen, Bristol – free entry
03/12 – The Duke of Cumberland, Whitstable –
04/12 – Norwich Arts Centre Norwich –


Africa Rising, Book Giveaway

Africa Rising showcases some of the diverse artistic and creative talent from across the continent. Covering fashion, design, music, photography, architecture and all in between, Africa Rising presents a contemporary snapshot of African innovation. The book sheds light on a new wave of artists marrying a distinct connection to the traditional with unique visions which speak directly to their contemporary contexts. Whether it be Hamed Ouattara’s innovative use of discarded materials to make furniture or Le Ndomo’s use of ancient Malian textile dyeing as a means to mobilise Malian youths, Nle‘s architectural answers to climate change and rapid urbanisation or Gonçalo Mabunda‘s recycling of weapons to make sculptures and traditional masks,  Africa Rising offers an insight into the steps African creatives are taking, whether or not the wider world is watching.

The volume is co-edited by Design Indaba: a multifaceted design platform that garners worldwide critical acclaim for their annual design conference held in Cape Town.

Africa Express is very pleased to partner with Gestalten, the publishers of Africa Rising to offer one lucky reader a copy of the book. To be in with a chance to win, share this post on your twitter or facebook (making sure to tag @AfricaExpress) so we can get in touch with you. The competition will end 12pm on Tuesday 22nd November. See the stunning photos below for a snapshot of what you could get your hands on!


Le Ndomo, from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016
Le Ndomo, from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016


Wangechi Mutu, from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016
Wangechi Mutu, from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016


from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016
Nle, from Africa Rising, Copyright, Gestalten 2016

Tinariwen's new album Elwan out on Feb 10th 2017

Tinariwen are back with a brand new album, featuring collaborations with Mark Lanegan, Kurt Vile and more. Partly recorded at Rancha De Luna Studios in California’s Joshua Tree National Park, and M’Hamid El Ghizane in the south of Morocco, Elwan touches on themes of exile, lost territory and nostalgia. Ahead of the release, the desert blues pioneers are touring Europe, with four dates in the UK including a sold out show at London’s Islington Assembly Halls on Nov 9th. Find out more about the tour here.

You can pre-order the album now.

Watch the video for the first track off the album , Ténéré Tàqqàl below.

Baloji plays Moth Club 24th November!

Congolese by way of Belgium, rapper and Africa Express alumnus, Baloji brings his blend of poetic rap to London’s Moth Club on November 24th. His forthcoming EP 64 Bits & Malachite will be released on Bella Union November 4th. Watch the brand new video “Spoiler” below for a taste of what’s in store:


You can buy tickets to see Baloji on November 24th here.
Pre-order the album on iTunes now

Ata Kak and Awesome Tapes From Africa at Corsica Studios Oct 20th!

Red Bull Music Academy bring together a roster of talent in celebration of Awesome Tapes from Africa’s 10th Birthday at Corsica Studios on Oct 20th. With a set from Ghana’s recently re-emerged high life legend Ata Kak, this is not a show to be missed.

Grab your tickets here.


Stream Sahel Sounds' Mix on NTS Radio

Sahel Sounds, a record label committed to exploring the sounds of West Africa, and the Sahel in particular, shared their expertise with NTS Radio. Tune in here for an hour long mix of forthcoming releases including Gao Hip Hop, Kologo ballads, Tuareg electro, Mauritanian music and more.

Watch the trailer below for an insight to the upcoming documentary, A Story of Sahel Sounds.

In C Mali, live audio from Holland Festival

This summer, we took In C Mali on a mini tour, bringing our interpretation of Terry Riley’s classic to Holland Festival and Les Nuits De Fourviere. We were lucky enough to have NTR record our live show at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam as part of Holland Festival on the 25th June. Wrap your ears around the sound of 19 musicians including vocals, guitars, bass, balafons, violin, peul flute, dj/samples, koras, talking drum, n’goni, delta harp, riti and kalimbas.