Damon Albarn To Bring Africa To Englanders

Oct 14th, 2008 // 7 Comments

BBC’s Electric Proms feature a number of Britain’s hottest acts in various contexts, but the likely highlight is Damon Albarn’s Africa Exprez, a collaboration between African pop stars and Brits like Johnny Marr and Hard-Fi. Clearly, Albarn’s dedicated to the music of Africa, releasing quite a bit of it through his Honest Jon’s label and including Tony Allen in his The Good, The Bad, And The Queen project. But is a jam session between Baaba Maal and a guy from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly the best way to expose a nation to the music of a continent?

To give some context, here’s Baaba Maal:

and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly:

Not that there isn’t some shared musical thread there somewhere, but the experience seems to be somewhat less impressive for the world music star than the guy with one album under his belt. Also, by and large, the collaborations will be improvised, with many of the acts meeting for the first time on the afternoon of the show, which doesn’t seem like enough time for the Foals…

and Amadou And Mariam…

to come up with something all that collaborative. Maybe they could have more than a few hours to work together? It just seems to be loading the deck for some weird standing around while Hard Fi experiment with some kora riffs on “Cash Machine.” Someone like Toumani Diabate has quite a bit of experience playing in other styles, but that might be asking too much, and possibly somewhat disrespectful of his talents.

Johnny Marr, Foals, Reverend set for Africa Exprez gig [NME]

  1. Audif Jackson Winters III

    Yeah, but do they know it’s Christmas?

  2. Dan Gibson

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: Nothing ever grows there, I hear.

  3. moomintroll

    ..they won’t have snow

    But for real? A real life Damon Albarn story on Idolator? Yes!
    Amadou and Mariam’s new album is sounding great. Damon Albarn produced the track “Sabali”, and it’s actually really good.

  4. Maura Johnston
  5. Clevertrousers

    Maura you have no idea… I covered that Honest Jon’s Revue at Lincoln Center this summer and it was a multi-kulti trainwreck. The Malian musicians all sounded great together, but when Damon would get all “everybody sing!” it was just godawful. I saw a bunch of the hardcore world music buffs sneaking out during the second act.

    I mean good on Damon and Honest Jon’s for doing what they do and trying, but sometimes his reach just exceeds his grasp.

    @moomintroll: Is it already out? Is this one on Nonesuch, too?

  6. Clevertrousers

    Also, for the record, Albarn is nice fella, but I still liked his shtick better when Jerry Dammers did it:

  7. moomintroll

    @Clevertrousers: It’s out November 17th. The song “Sabali” is out there right now, you can hear it on Youtube, and Pitchfork was streaming it a while back.

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