We had no idea what would happen when Damon Albarn invited a handful of artists to join us in Mali. Fatboy Slim, Jamie T, Martha Wainwright, Zane Lowe, Martina Topley-Bird, Jesse Hackett and Scratch from The Roots were among those who came along for what turned out to be a transformative trip. The mood was set the first night, an impromptu session hosted by Salif Keita at his Bamako house and joined by the likes of Amadou and Mariam and their former teacher Idrissa Soumaoro. Later came fabulous shows hosted by Toumani Diabate and Bassekou Kouyate. The evolution of Africa Express began over these extraordinary three days.


Header photo by Stephen Budd