Africa Express have announced new album release titled ‘Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes’ which is set to be released digitally on 9th December, with a physical release due out the following year. The album was recorded during a week-long trip to Bamako in Mali in October. Africa Express musicians and producers set up a temporary studio in a city youth club and worked with a new wave of contemporary Malian musicians to complete the album in one week. The club, situated on the banks of the Niger river and known locally as Maison Des Jeunes, became the venue for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances. The resulting 11-track album captures the spontaneity and excitement of a unique week in a country famed for its musical heritage, yet which saw music briefly banned in much of the nation following last year’s coup and extremist insurgency in the north.
Highlights include Timbuktu indie band Songhoy Blues – formed in reaction to the jihadist occupation – teaming up with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner for their first ever studio session on track ‘Soubour’; the extraordinary soulful voice of 21 year old singer (and niece of the renowned Bassekou) Kankou Kouyaté complimenting the music of her band Gambari; and British singer and producer Ghostpoet joined by the percussive beats of Bamako-based talking drum band Doucoura on the Damon Albarn and Two Inch Punch produced rap track ‘Season Change’. The full list of musicians and singers featured are: Adama Koita, Bijou, Doucoura, Gambari , Kankou Kouyaté, Lobi Traoré Band, Moussa Traoré, Songhoy Blues, Talbi, Tiemoko Sogodogo and the Yacouba Sissoko Band – as well as Western producers and musicians André de Ridder, Brian Eno, Cid Rim, Damon Albarn, David Maclean (Django Django), Ghostpoet, Holy Other, Jeff Wootton, Lil Silva, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Olugbenga Adelekan (Metronomy), Pauli The PSM, Remi Kabaka, Sammy Jay, Seye and Two Inch Punch.
Ghostpoet told us “Making music in Mali with Africa Express was amazing, humbling, life changing experience, a time in my life I will never forget. I’m just so happy I went with my gut instinct and got involved. Being on the album is just an added bonus really” and Kankou Kouyaté said “For me, it’s been a huge surprise. It’s the first time I played with musicians who are not from Mali. It’s good to have foreign musicians coming to Mali because there are a lot of great artists here that need recognition for their work”.
The album launches with a Africa Express event on 9th December at Oval Space will feature debut UK performances by Songhoy Blues and Kankou Kouyaté, together with special guests and DJ sets from Ghostpoet, Olugbenga and David Maclean – plus the UK premiere of the film documenting Africa Express’ amazing 2012 train tour of Great Britain which ended with a sell out 5,000 capacity show at Granary Square in Kings Cross, London.
The album will be released digitally by Transgressive Records on 9th December 2013, with a physical release to follow in early 2014. We are, of course, beyond excited. PREORDER HERE: http://georiot.co/africaexpress
Watch the video for Songhoy Blues – Soubour here (you get to download this track when you preorder the album)