Africa Express presents Terry Riley: in C Mali – out now


Following Transgressive Records‘ launch of Africa Express Presents In C Mali at Rough Trade East, you can now buy the vinyl or CD of In C Mali (and of course the Maison des Jeunes album if you haven’t already) here:

here’s the review from The Line Of Best Fit….terry-rileys-in-c-mali

IN C packshot

The London African Music Festival 19th-28th Sep


London African Music Festival

The 12th London African Music Festival is nearly upon us. The festival will take place from Friday 19th to Sunday 28th September 2014 across 12 venues, encompassing live performances from artists such as Senegalese Kora player (and old friend of Africa Express ) Diabel Cissokho, and the Gambia’s Sonah Jobarteh. From shows at Rich Mix to Dj sets at Charlie Wrights and performances at the Vortex Jazz Club – London will be alight with sounds from all over Africa.

For the full lineup and details about tickets click here and in the meantime, enjoy the playlist below

Review of Maison Des Jeunes album launch


Evening Standard

The young Songhoy Blues band from Timbuktu stole the show at the launch event for the new Africa Express CD, Maison des Jeunes

Right at home: Kankou Kouyaté performing at the launch of Maison des Jeunes (Picture: Rob Ball/Redferns via Getty)
Simon Broughton Critic Rating ****

Maison des Jeunes Album Launch event – December 9th


On December 9th, Africa Express celebrated the digital release of much anticipated album ‘Maison des Jeunes’ with a packed house and some incredible Malian musicians from the album (whose visas were received the day they flew to London…)

As you know the ticket price, which we kept as low as possible, went entirely into putting on the show and to getting the malian musicians over here for the show.  It was the first time any of them had played in London, and the feedback has been incredible.

So as ever, thanks for the enthusiasm and support, and for coming to celebrate such a special occasion with us.  If you have any photos, don’t forget to tag Africa Express on Facebook and you can always tweet feedback to @africaexpress.

We will be releasing physical CDs and Vinyl in February 2014, so watch this space for news on that.

Massive thanks again from all at AE


















Featuring live music (and debut UK performances) from Mali’s finest new talent Shonghoy Blues and Kankou Kouyate, there’ll also be Damon Albarn and Brian Eno who will have a chat with everyone about making the record (in Bamako, in just one week).

We will also be screening the UK PREMIERE of the Africa Express train tour documentary – get there at 7 sharp for that.

In between there’ll be DJ sets from Ghostpoet, Dave Maclean (Django Django) and Olugbenga (Metronomy),  no doubt with some surprises jumping on stage now & then.
We’re looking forward to seeing you there.  Click here for tickets

We would like to thank Arts Council England for helping make this album possible


Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes

Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes

Our NEW ALBUM will be release on 9th December.

Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes, the album we recorded during our recent week-long trip to Mali.  The album will be released digitally by Transgressive Records on 9th December 2013, with a physical release to follow in early 2014.  We are, of course, beyond excited.   PREORDER HERE:

Watch the video for Songhoy Blues – Soubour  here  (you get to download this track when you preorder the album) 

Africa Express presents: Maison des Jeunes

Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes was recorded in Bamako, Mali over 7 days in October. Africa Express musicians and producers set up a temporary studio in a city youth club and worked with a new wave of contemporary Malian musicians to complete the album in one week. The club, situated on the banks of the Niger river and known locally as Maison Des Jeunes, became the venue for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances.

The resulting 11-track album captures the spontaneity and excitement of a unique week in a country famed for its musical heritage, yet which saw music briefly banned in much of the nation following last year’s coup and militant takeover in the north.

Highlights include Timbuktu indie band Songhoy Blues – formed in reaction to the jihadist occupation – teaming up with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner for their first ever studio session on track ‘Soubour’; the extraordinary soulful voice of 21 year old singer (and niece of the renowned Bassekou) Kankou Kouyaté complimenting the music of her band Gambari; and British singer and producer Ghostpoet joined by the percussive beats of Bamako-based talking drum band Doucoura on the Damon Albarn and Two Inch Punch produced rap track ‘Season Change’.

The full list of musicians and singers featured are: Adama Koita, Bijou, Doucoura, Gambari , Kankou Kouyaté, Lobi Traoré Band, Moussa Traoré, Songhoy Blues, Talbi, Tiemoko Sogodogo and the Yacouba Sissoko Band – as well as Western producers and musicians André de Ridder,  Brian Eno, Cid Rim, Damon Albarn, David Maclean (Django Django), Ghostpoet, Holy Other, Jeff Wootton, Lil Silva, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Olugbenga Adelekan (Metronomy), Pauli The PSM, Remi Kabaka, Sammy Jay, Seye and Two Inch Punch.

The album launch event on 9th December at Oval Space will feature debut UK performances by Songhoy Blues and Kankou Kouyaté, together with special guests and DJ sets from Ghostpoet, Olugbenga and David Maclean – plus the UK premiere of the film documenting Africa Express’ 2012 train tour.


Artists on making the Africa Express album:

“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 instinct and got involved. Being on the album is just an added bonus really.”-Ghostpoet

“For me, it’s been a huge surprise. It’s the first time I played with musicians who are not from Mali. It’s good to have foreign musicians coming to Mali because there are a lot of great artists here that need recognition for their work,” -Kankou Kouyaté

Africa Express would like to thank the Arts Council of England for help making this trip possible


Africa Express at Fiesta Des Suds, Marseille – SET LIST


Africa Express at Fiesta Des Suds – SET LIST


19th October, 8pm – 1.30am

DJAZIA SATOUR: Blues Mood ft Remy

AMAZIGH KATEBBittersweet ft Djazia Satour, Remy, Rabah

AMAZIGH KATEB - Scorpion ft Djazia Satour, Remy, Nick Zinner, Romeo Stoddart

SEYE  – Two Hours

FATOUMATA DIAWARRA – Alama ft Damon Albarn

FATOUMATA DIAWARRA – Kokorow ft MC Malikah, Audrey Gbaguidi, Nelly (vocals), Reeps One (beatboxer), François Marry (guitar), Express horns

FATOUMATA DIAWARRA  – Salimata ft Jupiter & Okwess Internaitonal & -M-

DAMON ALBARN  – Out Of Time ft Nick Zinner & Hakim Hamadouche (Oud)

REEPS ONE – Beatboxing

DJANGO DJANGOSkies Over Cairo ft Mamadou Sarr, MCs Al Hamorab & Malikah

DJANGO DJANGO – Lebanese Love ft Jupiter & Okwess International, Montana drums, MCs Al Hamorab & Malikah

MEHDI HADDAB & SERGE PIZZORNO (KASABIAN)  – Galvanised ft the PSM, NIMG_7352ick Zinner (guitar), Seye, Jeff Wootton (guitar), Eslam Jawaad, Reeps One (beatboxer), Willaxxx (rapper)

YADi, SEYE & Andre de Ridder - Unbreakable

BATIDABazuka ft the PSM, Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park)

BATIDA  – Magnificent 7 ft PSM (drums), Duncan Lloyd (guitar), Eslam Jawaad, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, MCs Malikah & Al Hamorab

BATIDA - Alegria ft Reeps One (vocals)

MAVERICK SABRE  – I Need ft Diabel Cissokho (kora & vox), Andre de Ridder (violin)


BASSEKOU KOUYATE - Wakadou ft Mamadou Kouyate (n’goni), Amy Sacko (vocals), Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Tony Allen (drums) Mamadou Sarr (percussion), Jesse Hackett (keys), Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park), the PSM (drums), Reeps One (beatbox)

BASSEKOU KOUYATE – Ngoni Fola ft Mamadou Kouyate (n’goni), Amy Sacko (vocals), Guimba Kouyate (guitar), the PSM (drums), Jesse Hackett (keys)

KASABIANClub Foot ft Diabel Cissokho, Jesse Hackett, Tim Carter, Mamadou Sarr, YADi, PSM, Jeff Wootton




RACHID TAHA – Rock El Casbah ft -M-, Damon Albarn, PSM & Seye

ROMEO STODDART (Magic Numbers)- Love Is Just A Game/People Get Ready ft YADi

-M- (MATTHIEU CHEDID) - Mama Sam ft François Marry, Tony Allen, Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park), Seye

-M-  Amssetou ft Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Mamadou Sarr (percussion), the PSM (drums), Seye (bass), Cheick Tidiane Seck (keys), Audrey Gbaguidi vocals), Mah Damba (vocals)

-M-  Matchistador ft Tony Allen, Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park), Seye

BASHY, MAVERICK SABRE & YADi - If I Ruled The World ft PSM, Seye, Romeo Stoddart, Jesse Hackett, MC Malikah, MC Al Hamorab, Elsam Jawaad

CHEIKH TIDIANE SECK   – M’baoudi ft Mah Demba (vocals), PSM (drums), Seye (bass), Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Express Horns, MC Malikah, Mamadou Sarr (percussion)

TONY ALLEN - Ijo ft Audrey Gbaguidi (vocals), Express Horns, Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Cheik Tidiane Seck (keys), Romeo Stoddart (guitar), Remi Kabaka (percussion), Seye (bass)

TONY ALLEN  – Gentleman ft Coucou (vocals), Fatoumata Diawara (vocals/bass), Audrey Gbaguidi (vocals), Express Horns, Guimba Kouyate (guitar), Cheik Tidiane Seck (keys), Remi Kabaka (percussion)

DAMON ALBARN   – Poison ft Seye (bass), Andre de Ridder (violin), Tony Allen (drums)


JUPITER & OKWESS INTERNATIONAL: Lourdes ft finale with all artists

19th October – Africa Express headlined Fiesta des Suds


Africa Express headlined the Fiesta des Suds at the Docks des Suds as part of the Marseille city of culture celebrations.  We were joined by:

Batida enter the building

Amazigh Kateb, Andre de Ridder, Audrey Gbaguidi, Bashy, Bassekou Kouyate, Batida, Cheik Tidiane Seck, Damon Albarn, Diabel Cissokho, Django Django, Djazia Satour, Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park), Eslam Jawaad, Express horns, Fatoumata Diawara, Francois & the Atlas Mountains, Guimba Kouyate, Jeff Wooton, Jesse Hackett, Jupiter & Okwess International,  -M-, Mala in Cuba, Mamadou Sarr, Maverick Sabre, MC Al Hamorab, MC Malikah, Mehdi Haddab, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Pauli “the PSM”, Rachid Taha, Reeps One, Remi Kabaka, Romeo Stodart (Magic Numbers), Samy, Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian), Seye, Tony Allen, Wilaxxx and YADi

we’ll be posting the set list over the next couple of days, and there are lots of pictures up on our facebook  and twitter pages

– @africaexpress


Africa Express returns to Mali – BBC Coverage


This piece from the BBC explains a bit more about what we’re doing in Mali.  Click here for the full story

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 15.15.34

Africa Express is back in Mali



It’s true, we’ve returned to Bamako, Mali.

The Guardian joined us for a couple of days to see what we’re up to.  We’re recording an album with some of the west’s finest producers, who we’ve hooked up with just a tiny slice of the phenomenal musical talent that is so abundant in Mali.

We’re recording a collaborative album together.  More on that soon, but in the meantime here’s what the Guardian had to say about the trip

Africa Express to headline Fiesta des Suds. Marseille, Sat 19th October


Africa Express to headline Fiesta des Suds. Marseille, Sat 19th October

The Africa Express

We’re excited to announce that Africa Express will be playing at the fantastic Doc des Suds venue in Marseille, south of France on Saturday October 19th.

If you missed the finale of the train tour hop a flight and join us for the best of African and Western musical collaborations.  There are some Africa Express favourites, new faces,  and downright legends.

For info, lineup and tickets, go here:

See you in the south of France



M.anifest – “A whole lifetime in a week” aboard the Africa Express


M.anifest and M3nsa on the mic at Africa Express, Creative Commons, Bristol. Photo by Brian Okello

Mid-Morning on Sunday 2 September, I sauntered towards Euston in London with Jupiter Bokondji from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and about 15 other musicians from Mali and Senegal. Most of us had only just met. It was a colourful group that drew curious stares. Among us I would guess at least eight languages were spoken. We all had only just a vague idea of where the station was, yet if we were anxious about finding it or getting there on time none of us wore that anxiety visibly. As we walked, other musicians on the tour joined us and we all got to Euston without making a wrong turn and without any one to shepherd us there.

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