Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali (5 min edit)


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Following the digital release of our latest ‘Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali’, we present a 5 minute visual delight courtesy of Roland Hamilton (dir). The video guides you through the ins and outs of Bamako’s Maison Des Jeunes studio and offers an insight into the creative process behind our latest album.

‘In C Mali’ is available to purchase here and you can also pre-order the physical album from Transgressive Records. Check out the visuals below.


Africa Express Presents Terry Riley’s In C Mali Released 24th Nov


Tate Modern Live

Photo credit: Manuel Toledo

Marking the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley‘s pioneering masterpiece ‘In C’, we’re releasing the first African version of the minimalist classic, Africa Express presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali. This new version was recorded at the Maison des Jeunes youth club in Bamako, Mali in 2013, and is led by contemporary conductor André de Ridder. The album features the cream of new artists from Bamako, among them Adama Koita, Bijou, Cheick Diallo, alongside Africa Express stalwarts Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Jeff Wootton and Nick Zinner. Co-produced and mixed by Andi Toma (Mouse on Mars), the album will be released via Transgressive Records on digital formats on 24th November, with a CD and limited edition vinyl following on 26th January 2015. Pre-order the album here.

Earlier this month, we teamed up with  Tate Modern to present a one-off performance of the piece on the Bridge of the Turbine Gallery at Tate Modern. The event was recorded for an interactive film linking minimalist art and music, co-commissioned by The Space. Tate Modern, Africa Express and The Space will launch an interactive online film titled ‘Tate Modern and Africa Express present… Terry Riley’s In C Mali’ on on 28th November. The film will feature the live performance of the work, intercut with iconic minimalist works from the Tate Collection.

On 4th November 2014, exactly 50 years to the day from the world premiere* of ‘In C’, Terry Riley said: -“I am overwhelmed and delighted by this CD. I was not quite prepared for such an incredible journey, hearing the soul of Africa in joyous flight over those 53 patterns of ‘In C’. This ensemble feeds the piece with ancient threads of musical wisdom and humanity indicating to me that this work is a vessel ready to receive and be shaped by the spontaneous feelings and colours of the magician/musician.  I could not ask for a greater gift for this daughter’s 50th birthday.”

The album is available to pre-order here now. In the meantime, listen to an excerpt of Africa Express Presents… In C Mali below:

The full list of performers on Africa Express Presents… In C Mali is:

Adama Koita: Kamel N’goni

Alou Coulibaly: Calabash

Andi Toma: Additional Percussion, Kalimba

André de Ridder: Violin, Baritone-guitar, Kalimba

Badou Mbaye: Djembe, Percussion

Brian Eno, Bijou, Olugbenga: Vocals

Cheick Diallo: Flutes

Damon Albarn: Melodica

Defily Sako, Modibo Diawara : Kora

Guindo Sala: Imzad

Kalifa Koné, Mémé Koné: Balafon

Nick Zinner, Jeff Wootton: Guitar




Songhoy Blues hit London ahead of Damon Albarn Royal Albert Hall gig


Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues are a young desert blues punk band from Timbuktu, Mali. The band were exiled to Bamako during the recent unrest in Mali, when Africa Express first heard their music and invited them to record at the ‘Maison des Jeunes’ youth club in Mali’s capital in 2013.

The resulting track ‘Soubour was one of the outstanding songs on the ‘Maison des Jeunes‘ album, which we released via Transgressive records later that year. Since then the band have been increasingly in demand on the international touring circuit and this December sees the release of their first single ‘Al Hassidi Terei’. The track has already received plays on BBC Radio 1, XFM and has been playlisted at BBC6 Music. Their debut album, ‘Music in Exile’, produced by Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), will be released on Transgressive Records in February 2015. Read more about the upcoming album here.

The band will support Damon Albarn at the Royal Albert Hall this weekend on Saturday 15. Catch them at these warm up gigs in London this week.

Wednesday 12th Nov
King’s Head, Dalston
Tickets available here.
Friday 14th Nov
The Forge Camden (free entry from 11.30pm)

Enjoy the stunning visuals to ‘Al Hassidi Terei’ below.

Tate Modern and Africa Express present Terry Riley’s In C Mali


From far left  - Lansiné Kouyaté (balafon), Aly Keita (balafon), Mamani Keita (voice)  © Alexey Moskvin/Tate

From far left – Lansiné Kouyaté (balafon), Aly Keita (balafon), Mamani Keita (voice)
© Alexey Moskvin/Tate

Marking the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley‘s pioneering masterpiece ‘In C’, Tate Modern, Africa Express and The Space will launch an interactive online film “Tate Modern and Africa Express present In C Mali” later this month.

Led by classical conductor André de Ridder, and produced by Africa Express, the first African version of the minimalist classic was recorded in Bamako, Mali in 2013 with local musicians. The film will feature a live performance of the work, intercut with iconic minimalist works from the Tate Collection.

An album ‘Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali’ will be released by Transgressive Records later this year.



Maison Des Jeunes Bonus Tracks released for #Transgressive10



In celebration of their 10th Anniversary, Transgressive Records have been releasing a new track everyday for the last 29 days. Today saw the release of three bonus tracks from Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes produced by the likes of Lil SilvaJeff Wooton and Two Inch Punch. From the slow burning, atmospheric ‘Maliora’ to the delicately layered ‘Loop (Mali Guitare)‘ these bonus tracks encompass the diversity of Maison Des Jeunes.


Grab your free downloads of the three stunning tracks here – and watch the new video for  Gambari feat. Kankou Kouyaté’s ‘Yamore’ below. Maison Des Jeunes is still available on Amazon/Itunes.

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

Finding Fela General Release in UK Cinemas: Sep 5th



Didn’t win tickets to the exclusive screening of Finding Fela? Don’t worry as the documentary by Academy award winning Alex Gibney comes to cinemas across the UK from Sep 5th. Click here to find a screening near you.

A hypnotic portrait of visionary Nigerian musician and social activist, Fela Kuti, the documentary also tells the story of the hit Broadway musical Fela!  Sparked by the musical’s arrival to Lagos in 2011, the documentary captures the triumphant reception of the show at the Kuti family’s New Afrika shrine.

‘Finding Fela’, which made the Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, will be in cinemas in the UK from 5 September. The official soundtrack album is out now via Knitting Factory Records. Check out the trailer below.


Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra Perform at Colston Hall Sep 16th


Kinshasa Symphony

Central Africa’s only symphony orchestra Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra bring their sound to Bristol’s Colston Hall on Sep 16th.

The group led by Armand Diagienda, formed in 1994 in the Democratic Republic of Congo against the backdrop of war and two coups. Twenty years on and 200 members strong, the orchestra will perform in Bristol for the first time on September 16th. Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra will also be performing in Manchester, London Southbank (Sept 14th) and Cardiff.  As well as performing classical repertoire, including extracts from Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, the orchestra and choir will perform traditional Congolese music.

Want to learn more about Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra? Then catch the documentary screening this Sunday (14th Sep) at Watershed Cinema. Dig into Katrina Mason’s (of the FT) in depth write up on the importance of music in Congo and the history of the Orchestra here.

Click here to book tickets, and watch the documentary trailer below!


Fela Kuti Box Set Curated by Brian Eno out Sep 30th



Knitting Factory Records have chosen Brian Eno to pick seven of his favourite Fela Kuti albums for their third Box Set dedicated to the icon. The collection represents Eno’s 40 year obsession with Fela’s groundbreaking music.

Eno’s seven chosen albums span a ten year gap chronicling Fela’s growth, and include iconic works such as Shakara (1972), Zombie (1976), and of course Afrodisiac (1973). The box set also includes song lyrics, in depth commentaries on all seven albums from Afrobeat historian Chris May and an exclusive A2 poster.

The box set which also features London Scene (1971), Gentleman (1973),  Upside Down (1976), and  I.T.T. (1980), is released on September 30th and is now available for pre order here. Watch Brian speak about his first encounter with Fela’s music in the video below.  Stay tuned for more info of upcoming Finding Fela! screenings in London.



Salif Keita and Les Ambassadeurs Reunite at Barbican Centre


Les Ambassadeurs

Mali’s original Big Band Les Ambassadeurs (featuring Salif Keita, Amadou Bagayoko and Cheick Tidiane Seck) have reunited for a summer tour. The legendary Bamako-based group who ‘paved the way for the worldbeat explosion of the 80s’ are set to play Barbican on 26th July and WOMAD on July 27th. The Afrobeat Messengers  led by Nigerian percussionist (and Fela collaborator) Lekan Babalola will open the show at the Barbican with their special brand of global music. Tickets are still available here.

In the meantime,  here’s a video of Les Ambassadeurs in action in Bamako earlier this summer.


Tinariwen and Damon Albarn To Play Latitude Fest


Summer’s here, Glastonbury has just opened its gates to streams of music lovers and it’s safe to say the festival season is well and truly upon us.

We’re delighted that Latitude, one of the UK’s best arts festivals, have added Damon Albarn and Tinariwen to their line up. Amongst the theatre workshops, comedy and stellar acts such as Bombay Bicycle Club, we also suggest you catch Soundway Records newcomers Ibibio Sound Machine and Mauritanian beatsmith Mo Kolours.

Latitude runs from 17th- 20th July in Henham Park, Suffolk.  See the full line up here and get a flavour of the festival in the video below.

Jupiter and Okwess International Summer Tour


Okwess Summer Tour
The super-band hailing from Democratic Republic of Congo, Jupiter and Okwess International have just released details of their summer tour. The group, who were part of the 2012 Africa Express Train tour, will bring their enrapturing sound to countries across the world including France, Japan and Holland.

The tour kicks off on May 28th at La Clef in  St-Germain-Laye, full tour dates here.
We suggest you buy your tickets sooner rather than later, and in the meantime, you can watch Jupiter and Okwess’ acoustic set for BBC Africa below.