Africa Express as a project is almost single handedly responsible for triggering my interest in African music. The combination of contemporary western artists and traditional African styles is one that has the potential to feel so contrived, but when governed by the Africa Express moniker it never seems to falter. Latest in a long line of journeys, events and releases is the ‘Maison Des Jeunes’ LP, which was released this month.
Written and recorded in 7 days during a trip to Mali from which the artists involved only returned a month before the release date, the record boasts an impressive roster of contemporary western musicians. The range of songwriters and producers on show – African or otherwise – is reflected in the massively diverse range of genres covered in what really is a very good collection of tracks.
Throughout the LP there is an abundance of great tunes, and a handful of excellent ones. Widely regarded as perhaps the strongest is the hypnotic collaboration between Ghostpoet and Doucoura, but special mention has to go to Lil Silva for his frantic, mind boggling bashment arrangement, and the work done by Nick Zinner and co. on ‘Soubor’.
The album is out, and has been available from all the usual outlets since the start of December. Buy it.