Roskilde Lineup Announced!


Here are just some of the incredible artists who will be joining Africa Express to close Roskilde Festival on July 4th (As ever, this is just the first wave of names, and there will be surprises on the night):
Afrikan Boy
Alo Wala
Bo Madsen (Mew)
Damon Albarn
Dele Sosimi
Diabel Cissokho
Fatoumata Diawara
Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club)
Jupiter & Okwess International
Krar Collective
Laura Mvula
Little Simz
M1 (Dead Prez)
Malikah MC
Mehdi Haddab
Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
Noura Mint Seymali
Rachid Taha
Romeo Stoddart (The Magic Numbers)
Spoek Mathambo
Songhoy Blues
Terri Walker
Warren Ellis

Africa ExpressThe Africa Express Train Tour 2012 play 23.00-04.00 on Arena Stage

What is Africa Express?


we get asked this a lot.  Here’s how Africa Express describes itself:

Transgressive Records to hold album launch & film screening for Africa Express’ new album ‘Terry Riley’s In C Mali’ : Thurs 5th Feb at Rough Trade East


Transgressive Records & Africa Express Present…
Terry Riley’s In C Mali
Album Launch & Film Screening, Thursday 5th Feb, 7pm at Rough Trade East

IN C packshot

Transgressive Records are holding a launch to celebrate the release of the new Africa Express album with an exclusive Director’s Cut premiere screening of
‘Tate Modern and Africa Express present… Terry Riley’s In C Mali’ 

In November last year, Africa Express and Tate Modern presented a one-off live performance of Terry Riley’s In C Mali on the bridge of the turbine hall at Tate Modern. Featuring the cream of new artists from Bamako & western guests led by conductor André de Ridder, the event was recorded for an interactive film linking minimalist art and music, co-commissioned by The Space and directed by Kate Vogel.

This 42 minute Director’s Cut screening features the full live performance at Tate Modern.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley’s pioneering masterpiece ‘In C’, Africa Express will release the first African version of this minimalist classic, recorded at the Maison des Jeunes youth club in Bamako, Mali.

A limited number of tickets for the film screening are free to the public on a first come, first served basis at:

CD & limited edition vinyl out now on Transgressive Records:

To hear an excerpt from Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali, listen here: minute-edit/s-mPuPJ

The musicians on Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali are:
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: Vocals
Bijou: Vocals
Olugbenga: Vocals
Cheick Diallo: Flute
Damon Albarn: Melodica
Defily Sako: Kora
Modibo Diawara : Kora
Guindo Sala: Imzad
Kalifa Koné: Balafon
Mémé Koné: Balafon
Nick Zinner: Guitar
Jeff Wootton: Guitar
Mali recording and editing by Jeff Wootton

Mali’s Trio Da Kali bring their Griot Soul to UK in February Tour


They first appeared at the BBC Proms in 2013 and Trio Da Kali are now back. They hail from the Mande culture of Mali and will be bringing their unique sound to the UK from Feb 20th. Rooted in rich griot heritage, they offer a blend of jazz and their own traditional sonics. The trio, who have collaborated with Toumani Diabate,  is led by Hawa Kassé Mady – the daughter of legendary singer Kassé Mady Diabaté.

Catch Trio Da Kali in London at Richmix on Sunday 22nd February, tickets available here. The band will also appear in Manchester, Bristol and York, amongst other cities. Watch a stunning video of the  trio collaborating with Kronos Quartet below.
Trio Da Kali

Interactive Video: Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali



Terry Riley In C Mali africa express recording Bijou Lil Silva Andre de Ridder Jeff Wootton

Terry Riley In C Mali Africa Express recording Bijou Lil Silva Andre de Ridder Jeff Wootton

It’s with great pleasure that we reveal our interactive video of Africa Express Presents… In C Mali, in conjunction with Tate Modern and the Space. Filmed in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall earlier this month, the video captures an exclusive live performance of Andre de Ridder and musicians such as Damon Albarn, Diabel Cissokho and Jeff Wootton putting an Africa Express twist on Terry Riley’s minimalist classic. Intermingled with shots of contemporary art on display at the Tate, the video brings minimalism, art and music into communion.

Watch the interactive video below and download Africa Express Presents Terry Riley’s In C Mali here . Pre-order the vinyl (released January 26th on Transgressive Records) here.


The artists performing at the Tate were:

Musical Director
André de Ridder
Africa Express at Tate Modern 2 November 2014
Damon Albarn – Melodica, Vocals
Diabel Cissokho – Kora
Mosi Conde – Balafon
André de Ridder – Violin, Kalimbas
Baba Galle – Peul Flute
Aly Keita – Balafon
Mamani Keita – Vocals
Lansiné Kouyaté – Balafon
 Musa Mboob – Percussion
Malick Pathé Sow – Ngoni
Djelifily Sako – Kora
Mamadou Sarr – Percussion
Kaw Secka – Talking Drum
Bao Sissoko – Kora
Andi Toma (Mouse on Mars) – Electronics, Bass Kalimba
Marlies van Gangelen – Delta Harp, Kalimba
Jeff Wootton – Bass
Nick Zinner – Guitar



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




Damon Albarn on Toumani Diabate


Damon Albarn chats to World Circuit Records about Toumani Diabate and the impact of the Malian kora player’s music. Watch the video below.

Toumani and his son Sidiki are now on tour in the UK.

Loud And Quiet Magazine Interview Africa Express


Africa Express’ Stephen Budd caught up with Paddy Kinsella from Loud and Quiet Magazine to discuss the state of music in Mali today and the making of ‘Maison Des Jeunes’ (now available on CD.)
Read the full interview here and watch out for some hints about Africa Express projects in the pipeline!

Andy Morgan Takes Us Through Mali’s Hip Hop Scene



Writer and member of the Africa Express team,  Andy Morgan goes deep into Malian Hip Hop and Rap in his piece for Red Bull Music Academy. In his article, The Voice of The Voiceless, Morgan explores the political poignance of contemporary hip hop in Mali. Read this insightful look at the country’s changing musical landscape here.



Wall Street Journal: “Africa Express Strikes the Right Note”


Our recent Mali trip was covered by the Wall street Journal. Here’s what they had to say:

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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Spoek Mathambo, Jack Steadman and Peter Hook play ‘Control’ at Africa Express, The Ritz, Manchester. Photo by Simon Phipps

“This is the best project I’ve ever been involved in in my whole career” – Baaba Maal

“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 extinct and got involved. Being on the album is just an added bonus really” – Ghostpoet
‘The Africa Express was one of the most worthwhile and enjoyable projects I have ever been involved in… A true reminder of why I started playing music in the first place… I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”  – Carl Barat (The Libertines)

“Africa and its’ friends were there on the train around the UK, the music was beautiful, the audience amazed..! I was elated by this extraordinary and unique adventure, which also happened to be an opportunity for me to spend time with artists that I love and I do not often get to see. I thank all the organizers for their concern about our comfort and our serenity. I miss you all!” – Rokia Traore

“I was a pleasure for me to live through this train experience. Never has a train been so musical.  I loved the sense of togetherness and complicity between the artists, and I also really appreciated the ‘pop ups’ when I had the opportunity to play in hospitals and schools.  Africa Express is magical every time.  Thanks to everyone.” – Amadou Bagayoko (Amadou & Mariam)

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