Paul Weller and Krar Collective team up on new track

Krar Collective are the Ethiopian (London based) three piece band who joined our UK train tour in 2012. Five years on, the trio have toured the US and played stages like Paris’ Musee du Quai Branly amongst others. Paul Weller joined our most recent tour with the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians in 2016, offering audiences this stunning rendition of Wild Wood . It’s a pleasure to see these Africa Express alumni collaborating to bring you a cross genre experiment in the form of ‘Mother Ethiopia Part 3’. Krar Collective feature on the third and final part of this project, which will be out on 12 inch vinyl from September 29th.

Pre-order Mother Ethiopia here and listen to Krar’s contribtuion to Mother Ethiopia below!

Photo by Jacob Crawfurd: Krar Collective, live at Womex 2011.


Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet Release New Album: Ladilikan

In June 2016 Malian singer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabate joined us for Africa Express presents Terry Riley’s In C Mali. She  performed both at Holland Festival (Amsterdam) and Les Nuits Des Fourvieres in Lyon. The daughter of Mali’s greatest traditional singer Kassé Mady Diabate, Hawa is joined by some of Mali’s most renowned musicians. Her star studded band Trio Da Kali, features Lassana Diabaté on balafon and Mamadou Kouyaté on bass ngoni. The trio are set to release their debut album Ladilikan on 15th September on World Circuit Records.

The album is a collaboration with leading San Francisco based Kronos Quartet, also known as the world’s most adventurous string quartet, with over 60 albums under their belt. Kronos and Da Kali come together, blending southern Mali’s Mande sonorities with Kronos’ mix of violas, violin and cello. The group collaborated with American composer Jacob Garchik to arrange Trio Da Kali’s repertoire, bringing it into new uncharted territory.

Listen to the result below, Eh Ya Ye Ye is the first single off the debut album ‘Ladilikan’ by Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet, out on 15th September:

You can pre-order Ladilikan (out on World Circuit Records) here .

Photo by Jay Blakesberg


The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians at Womad and Cambridge Folk Fest

Last summer, Africa Express reunited a Syrian Orchestra who had played with Gorillaz back in 09, and since been scattered across the globe by the ongoing conflict.  These incredible musicians reformed as ‘The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians’ for a tour of Europe featuring guests such as Noura Mint Seymali , Julia Holter , Bassekou Kouyate , Paul Weller and more. The played the pyramid stage at Glastonbury, headlined the Holland festival, sold out the Royal Festival Hall and released a critically acclaimed live album.  
A year on, with the conflict in Syria ongoing, many of the members of The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians have settled in the UK and Europe.  How lucky we are that they are able to bring their beautiful Syrian sounds to stages across the UK. Recently playing main stages at WOMAD (listen to their set on BBC3)  and Cambridge Folk Festival, the Orchestra shared their own arrangements of classical Arabic music and melodies with eager audiences, and featured a guest turn from their friend Maverick Sabre who joined them for a beautiful Syrian version of his hit ‘I need’ and the poignant ‘A Change is Gonna Come’.  

They weren’t the only Africa Express Alumni on the festival circuit – having met at Africa Express’ headline show for Fiesta Des Seds Marseilles Marseille in 2013 Fatoumata Diawara , Toumani Diabate and his son Sidiki  joined forces with (-M-)  as brand new supergroup Lamomali. They’re now set to tour Europe from November onwards, find out more here and put on your dancing shoes.

Watch The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians’ set at Cambridge Folk Festival on Sky Arts TV.

                     Mohamad Saleh on Qanoon

Maverick Sabre

Tarek Zaidieh


Jupiter & Okwess New Album: ‘Kin Sonic’

We had the pleasure of inviting Congolese superband Jupiter & Okwess to the Africa Express train tour in 2012. Their infectious energy and musicianship was undeniable then, and it’s a delight to see the global release of their second album Kin Sonic today. The album features collaborations from fellow Africa Express alumni Warren Ellis of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds on violin and Damon Albarn on keys. Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja also offered his own contribution in designing the album cover.

In true Jupiter style, the album blends political critique with storytelling and engrossing rhythms, offering a kaleidoscopic soundscape of today’s Congo. You’ll  hear the sound of Jupiter’s experiences, from living on the streets of Kinshasa (at age 18) to touring the world, cascading through the album. All of this held down by sturdy basslines from Yendé, impossibly dexterous rhythms from Montana (of Staff Benda Bilili) and infectious riffs from guitarists Eric and Richard – Blaise’s vocals provide a counter point to Jupiter’s enigmatic bass tone.

You can catch this Congolese powerhouse  live at Camden Assembly on August 25th, alongside Mali’s BKO Quartet. Tickets are still available hereKin Sonic is out now on Glitterbeat Records, available on CD, 180g vinyl and digitally.

Watch the video to the lead single Okafombolo here and stream the album below:

 


Tunisian Desert Trance: Ifriqiyya Electrique

When thinking of desert music, bands like Tamikrest and the genre defining Tinariwen come to mind. Tunisian band Ifriqiyya Electrique widen the term with their new album Rûwâhîne. Rooted in the traditional Banga music of south Tunisia, Ifriqiyya Electrique craft a ‘post-industrial’ sound originating blending ritual with computers and avant rock.
Louder Than War’s 10/10 review described the album as ‘a curious but incredible mix of desert rock, of multiple percussion, of chanting, hip-hop and hints of Nine Inch Nails’. It is a mix of Tunisian tablas, Krakebs, guitars, electronic and layered voices.  Listen to the album out now on Glitterbeat Records.

You can catch Ifriqiyya Electrique live at Womad on 29th July, until then – watch their video below:

 


Orchestra Baobab New Album: Tribute To Ndiouga Deng

Ten years since their last album, Senegalese pioneers of a blended Afro-Cuban and traditional West African sound, Orchestra Baobab are back with ‘Tribute To Ndiouga Deng’. The album was recorded in Moussa X’s studio in Dakar and features new compositions in honour of the group’s original leader Ndiouga Deng who passed away last year. Although the group disbanded between 1987 and 2001, its current reincarnation features its veteran core of musicians. This includes vocalist Balla Sidibe, saxophonists Issa Cissoko and rock steady rhythm section Charlie Ndiaye bass and Mountaga Koite on congas. New additions such as Kora player Abdouleye Cissoko, bring a fresh lightness to the band’s renowned feel.
Orchestra Baobab are masters of hybridity, blending Rhumba with American Jazz, Highlife, Senegalese pop and more, and this album is no exception. Tribute To Ndiouga Deng is out now on World Circuit Records.

Watch the supergroup play Jools Holland below and catch their two night residency at Jazz Cafe on 13th and 14th May!

Stream the album below and buy it here


Africa Express Presents…Terry Riley’s In C Mali in Paris May 21st

We’re glad to bring Africa Express presents… In C Mali to Louis Vuitton Foundation’s Nuit Européene des Musées. This African version of the Terry Riley classic was first conceived following our 2013 trip to Bamako’s Maison Des Jeunes. It brings together contemporary composer André de Ridder and 16 different musicians playing instruments as diverse as kora, balafon, guitar, peul flute, delta harp, riti, kalimbas and more. In keeping with Riley’s instructions, the performance is partially improvised. Each instrumentalist is free to chose the number of times they repeat one of the 53 short phrases which make up the piece. This creates an unending musical kaleidoscope.

Andre De Ridder will be joined by the exceptional Cheick Diallo (flute), Hawa Kasse Mady of Trio Da Kali (vocalist) and guitarists Romeo Stodart (The Magic Numbers) and Bryce Dessner (The National). This will be the first performance of the piece since Summer of 2016 when we brought In C Mali to Nuits Des Fourvieres and Holland Fest.

Africa Express Presents… In C Mali takes place on Sunday 21st May at 5pm Fondation Louis Vuitton, tickets here

Watch the debut performance of In C Mali in the Turbine Gallery at Tate Modern in London, Nov 2014.

Header Photo by Lol Willems

 


Ticket Giveaway: AfroCubism Revisited 23rd April

On April 23rd, the sounds of Cuba and West Africa come together at The Islington Assembly Hall. Afrocubism Revisited curated by Barbican  is a celebration of Afrocubism, the seminal album released in 2010 featuring  Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyaté, Eliades Ochoia and more. As well as re-interpreting classics from the album, the live show explores the deep rooted history of collaboration crucial to both musical styles.

Expect to see N’goni virtuoso (and Africa Express veteran) Bassekou Kouyaté on stage alongside Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. (Watch this video of their latest collaboration with Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.) The musicians are joined by the Cuban Trio made up of Yelfris Valdés (trumpet), Piki Bosh (guitar) and Hammadi Valdés (percussion).

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, simply share and like this post on facebook and twitter. (Competition ends 19th April)

Tickets on sale now.
Stream the seminal album below:

Terms and Conditions: The competition is open to entrants in UK. All entries must be received by 19th April 2017. A winner will be selected at random and notified within one day of the above closing date via their social media. The winner will then have one day to respond and claim the tickets, after which the tickets will be allocated to someone else.


Record Store Day Vinyl Release for The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests

This year Record Store Day turns 10 on April 22nd. And what’s more, you’ll be able to get your hands on the vinyl edition of Africa Express Presents… The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests! This gatefold double LP is on 180gram vinyl, with cover art from Ayman Oghanna (front cover photo) and Tammam Azzam (back cover).Read more about the making of the album here and watch last summer’s Royal Festival Hall show below.
The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests was made possible with the support of Google Play Music and co commissioned by 14-18 Now & Holland Festival.

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