The London African Music Festival 19th-28th Sep

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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

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Finding_Fela_

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

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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

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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

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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

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Latitude
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

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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.

New Video: ‘Deni Kelen Be Koko’ by Lobi Treore Band (prod. by Django Django’s Dave Maclean)

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‘Deni Kelen Be Koko’ by Lobi Treore Band (feat. Seye on bass) was produced by Django Django’s Dave Maclean during Africa Express’ week in Bamako. Check out the newly released video above, featuring behind the scenes footage of the Maison Des Jeunes studio in Bamako.

Maison Des Jeunes (physical release April 21st) is available to preorder now.
We’re also releasing a limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day on April 19th. Find out more here.

Record Store Day Exclusive Maison Des Jeunes LP

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We’re happy to announce the long awaited release of physical and deluxe editions of Maison Des Jeunes by Transgressive Records. In celebration of Record Store Day, we’ll be releasing a limited edition (only 1000 copies!) 2×12 blue vinyl LP on 19th April, featuring 5 brand new tracks.

Originally released in December 2013 as a digital-only format in the spirit of the project, just two months after recording, Maison Des Jeunes brought to light some of the vital new music being created in Mali, produced with Western artists including Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Nick Zinner, Ghostpoet, Two Inch Punch, Olubenga (Metronomy) and David Maclean (Django Django).

Aside from standout tracks from the original record like Songhoy Blues’ SoubouraGhostpoet and Doucoura’s Season Change, and Lil Silva’s own Bouramsy, this physical release is bolstered with impeccable new recordings, such as a fresh take on blues standard Wade In The Water by Olubenga and Gambari, and intimate takes from Brian Eno on Tiemoko Sogodogo’s Man Nyale Totebereye.

A CD and digital release will follow on April 21st. In the meantime, check out the album trakclisting below.

 

Tracklisting: 

1- Adama Koita – Fantainfalla Toyi Bolo (Produced by Two Inch Punch)

2- Songhoy Blues – Soubour (Produced by Nick Zinner & Remi Kabaka)

3- Ghostpoet feat. Doucoura – Season Change (Produced by Two Inch Punch & Damon Albarn)

4- Bijou – Dougoudé Sarrafo (Produced by Damon Albarn)

5- Lil Silva – Bouramsy (Produced by Lil Silva)

6- Tal B Halala – Rapou Kanou (Produced by Two Inch Punch)

7- Gambari feat. Kankou Kouyaté – Yamore (Produced by Damon Albarn)

8- Yacouba Sissoko Band – Chanson Denko Tapestry (Produced by Brian Eno)

9- Lobi Traoré Band – Deni Kelen Be Koko (Produced by David Maclean)

10- Moussa Traoré – Farafina (Produced by Damon Albarn)

11- Tiemoko Sogodogo – Latégué (Produced by Brian Eno)

 

Bonus tracks:

12- Kokanko Sata – Djoti Sayoro Don (Produced by Damon Albarn and Two Inch Punch)

13- Remi Kabaka feat. Batoma Sidibé – Milk (Produced by Remi Kabaka & Batoma Sidibé)

14- Gambari and Olugbenga – Wade in the Water (Produced by Olugbenga)

15- Tiemoko Sogodogo - Man Nyale Totebereye (Produced by Brian Eno)

16- Another Power Cut

Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes was made possible with the support of Arts Council England.
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Toumani and Sidiki Diabate Release New Album

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Toumani-and-Sidiki

World renowned kora player Toumani Diabaté is set to release an album of duets with his son Sidiki. Toumani & Sidiki is the latest offering from the Malian musician since Ali & Toumani, his 2010 Grammy Award winning collaboration with the late great Ali Farka Touré. In playing the kora alongside his father, twenty-three year old Sidiki, a name in his own right – he is one half of Malian hip hop duo Iba One – continues the 700 year old Diabaté dynasty.  The father-and-son duo will tour their new album in the UK throughout May and June with more US and European dates to be announced. Toumani & Sidiki is released on May 5th and can be pre ordered now at World Circuit.  Watch the album trailer below.

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: http://georiot.co/africaexpress

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.

Tumblr: http://lamaisondesjeunes.tumblr.com

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

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See the BBC’s photos of our week in Mali

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Ahead of our Mali album launch, here’s a reminder of what we got up to in Bamako.  The BBC joined us there and took some pictures:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24559550

AE and the BBC in Mali