Since 2006, the Africa Express has been bringing together some of the greatest acts in African music, in a heady mix of nine-hour jams and incredible, spur-of-the-moment collaborations. Past examples of the carnival-like madness include Amadou & Mariam onstage with Johnny Marr and Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) playing alongside Femi Kuti. But this is not your typical “African” music, but a more exciting concept: a vision of African and Western artists as equals and, as Damon Albarn puts it, a vision where “African music is the future”. The party is touring the UK by train as part of this summer’s London 2012 Festival and lucky for us, the final stop on their tour is Bristol. The line-up is breathtaking and the “anything can happen” attitude looks set to make this year the greatest so far. Some of the African artists include Amadou & Mariam with a 5-peice band, trend-setter in West Africa’s hip-hop scene, M3NSA and Neo-Soul singer Nneka. Western artists performing include Carl Barat (ex-Libertines), Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club) and panoramic Pop-Rock band Temper Trap. A full line-up for the Bristol show can be found on the Colston Hall site and a list of the artists appearing at all stages of the UK tour can be found on the Africa Express site.
For a visual hint of what to expect, see the video below.