Remembering Marco

It was with a terrible sadness and shock we received the news that our friend and fellow passenger Marc-Antoine Moreau had died on Wednesday in Paris, of complications arising from malaria.  He was taken away from us just when his life was entering a beautiful new phase, with a new job in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as head of Universal Africa – the kind of challenge that animated Marco’s dreams. He loved Africa and African music like birds love the air, never feeling better than when he was standing in a ramshackle bar in the downtown bustle of some great African city, ice-cold local beer in his hand, cig between his fingers, checking out new talent.

As one of the founders and key movers of Africa Express, Marco lived and breathed the principle that African music, art and culture shouldn’t be ghettoised or patronised but rather nurtured with respect. He was a sterling presence at our events, always astute in his musical judgement and suggestions – and always up for the craic. The list of bands he managed or helped in some major way is truly astounding. It starts with Amadou and Mariam of course, but also includes Cheick Tidiane Seck, Mamani Keita, Mo DJ, Jupiter and Okwess, K’naan, Chérif M’Baw, Mounir Troudi, Songhoy Blues and so many more.  Cities like Bamako and Kinshasa were almost second homes to him, loving to buzz around bars and neighbourhoods on a moped in search of music, people and life.

Above all, he was a dependable friend. He might have scaled rare heights in his chosen profession, and hob-nobbed with stars and luminaries, but he was always there with a hug, an idea and a huge bucket full of inspiration and enthusiasm. We will miss him terribly, richer as we all are for all the music, the good times, the laughter, the love that he gave us.

Marco…notre ami…may the groove be loud and funky in your heaven, and may the earth rest light upon you here below…

 


Blick Bassy Headline UK Tour - Union Chapel Nov 17th

Cameroonian singer and guitarist Blick Bassy brings material from his latest album ‘Akö’ to the UK for a week. Released on french label No Format, ‘Akö’ is inspired by American Blues artist Skip James and features Blick singing in Bassa (one of Cameroon’s 260 native languages). Blick brings his live set to venues around the UK, performing with Johan Blanc on trombone and Clément Petit on cello, alongside his own distinctive falsetto, guitar and banjo. The headline tour kicks off with a special performance as part of The London Folk and Roots Festival at London’s Union Chapel on 17th November (tickets here)

 
Watch a new live version of Ndjè Yèm’ for a taste of what to expect:

See below for tour dates and ticket info:

 

Fri 17 November LONDON Union Chapel

 

Sat 18 November LEEDS Headrow House

 

Sun 19 November GALLOWAY Catstrand

 

Mon 20 November GLASGOW The Hug & Pint

 

Tues 21 November NORWICH Norwich Arts Centre

 

Fri 24 November BRISTOL Bristol Playhouse

 

Sat 25 November LIVERPOOL Philharmonic

 


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