Africa Express will be playing at the Doc de Suds venue in Marseilles, south of France on Saturday Oct 19 2013. Tickets for the show are fast selling out so get yours before its too late from this website
The best in African and western musical collaboration will for five hours, entertain music lovers in Marseilles in a unique blend of African traditional music, hip hop and modern contemporary western music. Among the musicians that will be playing in Marseille are Audrey Gbaguidi, Bashy, Diabel Cissokho, Eslam Jawaad, Express horns: Justin Thurgur, trombone, Guimba Kouyate, Holy Other, Jeff Wooton, Jesse Hackett, Mala in Cuba, Mamadou Sarr, MC Al Hamorab, Mehdi Haddab, Pauli “the PSM”, Reeps One, Remi Kabaka, Seye, François Marry (François & the atlas mountains)
During the Olympics last year, some 80 western and African musicians including Baba Maal, Damon Albarn and Tony Allen went on a week long unique train journey around the UK making music as they went along. The BBC reported extensively on the tour here
The Africa Express project was jointly founded by Blurs front man Damon Albarn and columnist and campaigner Ian Birrell in an attempt to revive Malian music after a loose alliance of Islamist and Tuareg rebels overran northern Mali. The president was also overthrown in a coup d’etat and the country almost broke into two.
One of the first things the rebels did was to ban all forms of music. French troops intervened before driving the rebels out but they still make life uncomfortable for people in the area by frequent coordinated attacks from their bush hideouts.
“Chaos” is the favourite word used by almost everyone involved in the collaboration between western and African musicians in Mali. The word is however used in friendly terms because the music their joint collaboration comes up with is new, vibrant and completely unknown before.
Since Africa Express was created to “revive Mali’s music industry”, Alburn and some western musicians have visited the country a couple of times and are presently there now to record an album as the BBC reported here
The long years of wars and unstable governments has left Mali a broken, disorganized country but the country still boasts some of the best musicians in Africa. Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate are some of the best known Malian musicians and most of them are involved in the innovative Africa Express project.
You can check for updates and more info from the Africa Express website here