October 15, 2013

Africa Express to record album in Mali

Damon Albarn teams up with Brian Eno in the search for local talents

As reported by BBC and The Guardian, the artist collective Africa Express are currently in Mali in an attempt to record an album with local young musicians and help them to get their international careers started.

Lead by Damon Albarn, Africa Express' current line-up includes producer Brian Eno, guitarist Nick Zinner, conductor André de Ridder and a dozen of other musicians and producers who are in the search for local talents to be featured on the yet-untitled record. The auditions and recording sessions are being held at the Bamako's Maison des Jeunes cultural centre.

Brian Eno told BBC Africa: "I've just been listening to them and I said to Damon: 'This is a week-long musical humiliation.' The players are so extraordinarily good that it does make me think I might consider another career."

The collective has already recorded with the 21-year-old singer Kankou Kouyaté who expressed that the project is a huge opportunity and will give some much-needed recognition for the local artists.

"Since the war, things have been difficult and complicated. But this is very good. It has really touched me having the opportunity to do new things with foreign artists now," she said to The Guardian.

Africa Express will perform at Marseille's Fiesta des Suds on this coming Saturday, October 19.

Update added November 14, 2013:

Africa Express album details revealed

Transgressive Records have announced that Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes will be out digitally on 9th December 2013, and physically in early 2014. The album features four tracks produced by Damon Albarn:

01. Fantainfalla Toyi Bolo by Adama Koita
Produced by Two Inch Punch

02. Soubour by Songhoy Blues
Produced by Nick Zinner & Remi Kabaka

03. Season Change by Ghostpoet feat. Doucoura
Produced by Two Inch Punch & Damon Albarn

04. Dougoudé Sarrafo by Bijou
Produced by Damon Albarn

05. Bouramsy by Lil Silva
Produced by Lil Silva

06. Rapou Kanou by Tal B Halala
Produced by Two Inch Punch

07. Yamore by Gambari feat. Kankou Kouyaté
Produced by Damon Albarn

08. Chanson Denko Tapestry by Yacouba Sissoko Band
Produced by Brian Eno

09. Deni Kelen Be Koko by Lobi Traoré Band
Produced by David Maclean

10. Farafina by Moussa Traoré
Produced by Damon Albarn

11. Latégué by Tiemoko Sogodogo
Produced by Brian Eno

The promo video for "Soubour" is watchable now on YouTube. 30 second clips of each track are available on Amazon.co.uk [link down].

The album launch party, featuring the premiere of Africa Express' train tour film, will be held on 9th December at the Oval Space [link down] in London.

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