Baaba Maal, Damon Albarn and Bombay Bicycle are to tour the UK by train in September
The collective of African and western musicians who have been doing one of festival shows are to take the project round the UK on board a specially chartered train.
What a cool idea!
It’s a great line up including Damon Albarn, Amadou & Mariam, Kano, Baaba Maal, Charli XCX, Fatoumata Diawara and Noisettes.
Africa Express’s first show was at Glastonbury in 2007 ”âbut this is more ambitious with 80 musicians starting in London on a week-long journey. Other acts scheduled to board the train include the newly announced Bassekou Kouyate and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rokia TraorÃÂ©, Baloji, Jupiter & Okwess International and Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club. More acts will be announced shortly.
They will be hopping off the train to play gigs in Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol and there are plans for geurilla gigs at railway stations, schools, factories, offices, shopping centres and homes. Anyone interested in inviting Africa Express to play when they visit their town is asked to contact them online at email@example.com.
The trip will culminate with the train’s arrival into London King’s Cross before a final concert in the new Granary Square at the back of the station on 8 September.
Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when co-founder Damon Albarn took Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and others to play with acts such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita and Amadou & Mariam. This was followed by the Glastonbury show, trips to Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia as well as further gigs in Liverpool, London, Paris and on a beach in northern Spain. Spin-off outfit the Africa Express Soundsystem played the Great Escape festival in Brighton.
Africa Express will play Middlesborough Town Hall on 3 September; The Arches in Glasgow on 4 September; The Ritz in Manchester on 5 September; Solus in Cardiff on 6 September; The Big Top@Creative Common in Bristol on 7 September and Granary Square at King’s Cross, London, on 8 September.
The Africa Express trip is part of the London 2012 festival and is produced in association with the Barbican. The Guardian is the train trip’s media partner.