In case anybody didn’t know this was happening: As I type, a ’60s era diesel locomotive packed with over 80 African (and some non-African) musical luminaries is chugging across Britain and playing shows, some staged and others spontaneous, as they go.
It seems improbable, but producer Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and collaborators has managed to get together a who’s-who of African music together for a one-of-a-kind, week-long tour for the history books. It’s called Africa Express. Represented talent includes Amadou and Mariam, Toumani Diabate, Vieux Farka Toure, Charli XCX, The Very Best, Baloji, Theophilus London, Spoek Mathambo. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tiken Jah Fakoly… you know what, let’s just stop listing and just say “everybody.”
There are special train cars outfitted with instruments for musicians to jam and collaborate. There are spontaneous performances on train platforms, in schools and in factories. There are silly announcements on the PA. The Guardian is live-blogging the whole darn thing.
The Africa Express is currently on Day 4, and will rap up on Saturday September 8 with a blow-out concert in London. If you are in Bristol, Cardiff, or London over the next few days, you can buy tickets here.