Africa Express To Tour Britain By Train

Host of African and Western musicians will take to the tracks for week-long musical train journey

Photograph courtesy of Mark Allan

The Africa Express collective of African and Western musicians will be touring Britain by train this September. ‘The Africa Express’ will be departing London on September 2, taking artists including Amadou & Mariam, Damon Albarn and Rokia Traoré to play gigs in Middlesborough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol, before returning to London for a finale concert at the new Granary Square outdoors venue.

UPDATE: More acts have now been announced as stepping aboard the train on September 2, with the full line-up now running like this: Thandiswa, Bashy, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Gilles Peterson, Maxïmo Park, EL, Eliza Doolittle, Lucy Rose, The Bots, Rachel Unthank, Reeps One, Romeo Stodart (The Magic Numbers), Rae Morris, Tony Allen, Carl Barât, Hatim Bensalha (H-Kayne), Bassekou Kouyate, Afel Bocoum, Toumani Diabate, Nicolas Jaar, Krar Collective, Kyla La Grange, M1 (Dead Prez), M.anifest, Spoek Mathambo, John McClure (Reverend and the Makers), Nneka, The Temper Trap, Marques Toliver, The Very Best (Soundsystem), Rizzle Kicks, Kano, Baloji, Charli XCX, Fatoumata Diawara, Noisettes, Jupiter & Okwess International, Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle Club

The train, which features a customised music carriage, will be set up for writing material in-between gigs. As well as the dates below, the collective will be playing pop-up gigs at railway stations, schools, factories and elsewhere.

Here are the tour dates:


Mon 3 – Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Tue 4 – The Arches, Glasgow

Wed 5 – The Ritz, Manchester

Thu 6 – Solus, Cardiff University, Cardiff

Fri 7 – The Big Top, Creative Common, Bristol

Sat 8 – Granary Square, London

Africa Express started in 2006 with collaborations between artists like Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam and Baaba Maal (see photograph above) and Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T. Since then, the collective have played concerts in London, Glastonbury, Nigeria, the Congo, Ethiopia, France and Spain.

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