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.



Album Giveaway: Janka Nabay's Build Music out March 24th

Sierra Leonean singer and Bubu music revivalist Janka Nabay has a compelling back story. He fled the Sierra Leonean conflict in 2003, relocated to Philadelphia and worked in chicken shops and restaurants. In 2010, after hearing recordings of his 1990s tapes, journalist Wills Glaspiegel tracked Janka Nabay down. A band was formed, they played regular sets at local Brooklyn music venues and in 2012 released debut album En Yah Say on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Well received by the likes of NPR, Pitchfork and more, the album’s success led to live shows at Bonaroo and MOMA.

Five years on, Janka has returned to the studio to craft Build Music, a revisiting of his original Sierra Leone recordings. The album picks up where Janka’s electronic Bubu sounds left off in the 1990s, melding Casio synths and retro drum machines with poignant lyrics describing the conflicts of life as an immigrant. This self described “black cowboy’s” music speaks for itself. Stream ‘Santa Monica’ from the forthcoming album below.

Pre-order Build Music here and for a chance to win a copy of the album, simply like and retweet this post. (Competition ends March 21st)

Terms and Conditions: The competition is open to entrants in UK. All entries must be received by 21st March 2017. A winner will be selected at random and notified within two days of the above closing date via their social media. The winner will then have two 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.

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Live in London May 31st

Benin is home to the renowned T.P Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Formed in 1996, the band released around 50 albums and over 100 singles, garnering well earned legendary status. A flourish of interest in the band in the late 2000s surged as labels such as  Soundway Records and Analog Africa took turns in re-issuing their old classics. In 2011 Strut Records released Cotonou Club a record of entirely new music and performed at Scala to celebrate. Six years on, the band have returned to London to promote their latest album, Madjafalao (which we gave away two copies of when it was first released!).

Catch the Orchestra live at 229 on May 31st. Tickets available here.




Orchestre Polyrythmo

Oumou Sangare's New Album: Mogoya out on May 19th!

Luckily for Africa Express, Oumou Sangaré has graced our stages twice, once at BBC Electric Proms at Koko in 2008 and at Paris’ Hotel De Ville in 2009. Now we’re delighted to hear that the Malian superstar is releasing her new album Mogoya (meaning “people today”) on Nø Format on May 19th 2017! Whilst last year saw the re-issue of her seminal debut album Moussolou, this is the first taste of new solo music from Oumou Sangaré since 2012.

You’ll hear a mix of traditional instruments including the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash blend with electric guitar, keys, bass and synths on the album. “It was new for me because my music has never had this kind of arrangement and sound before. I’ve been totally in the tradition for years now so to get out of that and have a look around elsewhere was a total pleasure,” said Oumou in describing the creative process behind the album.

Oumou will also be performing at Scala in London with her own band on 16th May for the first time since 2011, a show not to be missed. Tickets are on sale here now.

Wrap your ears around the “colourfully invigorating” first track off the record ‘Yere Faga’ which features master drummer and long time Africa Express friend Tony Allen.

Stream it here:

Header photo by Susan Schulman.

RIP 'Fantastic Man' William Onyeabor

Nigerian electronic afro-funk pioneer William Onyeabor has sadly passed away, aged 70. The elusive artist found popularity in 1970s/80s Nigeria where his iconic blend of afro rhythms and synthesisers gave him a totally unique sound. Though always elusive (and consistently bootlegged around the world), Onyeabor rose to mythic status with the help of Luaka Bop‘s release of the seminal Who is William Onyeabor in 2013.  A businessman, producer, record label president, innovator, and many more titles, Onyeabor carved out a niche rooted in idiosyncrasy. Tributes to William Onyeabor have flooded in from across the world, including David Byrne who participated in Atomic Bomb, a series of live renditions of Onyeabor’s work.

Read tributes from The Guardian, and NPR, and find out more about the man behind the music, in Noisey’s ‘Fantastic Man’ documentary: