Baaba Maal among leading musicians to board the Africa Express

Baaba Maal, Damon Albarn and Bombay Bicycle are among the lineup of musicians who will tour the UK by train in September

Reading this on mobile? Click her to view video

The collective of African and western musicians known as Africa Express has revealed details of the train trip they will take across the UK in September, with a cast including Damon Albarn, Amadou & Mariam, Kano, Baaba Maal, Charli XCX, Fatoumata Diawara and Noisettes.

Five years after their first full gig – an epic show at Glastonbury in 2007 – Africa Express will become "The Africa Express" when a lineup of more than 80 musicians leaves London on a week-long journey. Other acts scheduled to board the train include the newly announced Bassekou Kouyate and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rokia Traoré, Baloji, Jupiter & Okwess International and Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club. More acts will be announced shortly.

As well as scheduled gigs in Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol, there are plans for pop-up performances at railway stations, schools, factories, offices, shopping centres and homes. Anyone interested in inviting Africa Express to play when they visit their town is asked to contact them online at

The trip will culminate with the train's arrival into London King's Cross before a final concert in the new Granary Square at the back of the station on 8 September.

Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when co-founder Damon Albarn took Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and others to play with acts such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita and Amadou & Mariam. This was followed by the Glastonbury show, trips to Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia as well as further gigs in Liverpool, London, Paris and on a beach in northern Spain. Spin-off outfit the Africa Express Soundsystem played the Great Escape festival in Brighton. Read more about Africa Express.

Africa Express will play Middlesborough Town Hall on 3 September; The Arches in Glasgow on 4 September; The Ritz in Manchester on 5 September; Solus in Cardiff on 6 September; The Big Top@Creative Common in Bristol on 7 September and Granary Square at King's Cross, London, on 8 September.

The Africa Express trip is part of the London 2012 festival and is produced in association with the Barbican. The Guardian is the train trip's media partner.


Caspar Llewellyn Smith

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Africa Express in Marseille - review

The music collective rolled into town with performances from Bassekou Kouyate, Jupiter Bokondji and Damon Albarn, among many others, who kept the crowd going all night

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

24, Oct, 2013 @2:26 PM

Article image
Damon Albarn and Baaba Maal: All aboard the Africa Express!

A collaboration of African and western musicians, Africa Express is now headlining festivals and planning a huge train tour of the UK this year. Damon Albarn and Baaba Maal explain how it came about

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

10, May, 2012 @7:30 PM

Article image
Africa Express: a magical mystery tour

Eighty musicians, one train and a string of stops across Britain. This could be the most extraordinary tour of the year, says Caspar Llewellyn Smith

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

25, Aug, 2012 @11:05 PM

Africa Express: Paul McCartney and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage part two - video

The Africa Express tour, featuring over 80 musicians including Damon Albarn and Baaba Maal, finished its epic tour of the UK by train with a gig at Granary Square in King's Cross in London. Among the special guests on the night was Sir Paul McCartney, who joined the collective to play two old Wings songs – and you can see footage here in this exclusive film

Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye

15, Sep, 2012 @11:00 AM

Article image
Africa Express – review

It's not every day Damon Albarn, Baaba Maal, Tony Allen, Carl Barât, Rokia Traoré and Joy Division's Peter Hook play a gig together, writes Caspar Llewellyn Smith

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

06, Sep, 2012 @10:36 AM

Africa Express: its past in pictures

Africa Express starts making its way round the UK next week – in a train packed with musicians both African and British that departs from London on Sunday. Previous tours have been accompanied by photographer Simon Phipps – here's his pick of images from gigs in Ethiopia, Nigeria and France, taken between 2008 and 2010

30, Aug, 2012 @11:26 AM

Watch Africa Express at Glastonbury 2007 – video

The musical collective known as Africa Express played its first-ever proper gig at the Glastonbury festival in 2007. Here is Algerian singer Rachid Taha covering the Clash's Rock the Casbah with Damon Albarn, Billy Bragg, Baaba Maal and more

01, Sep, 2012 @10:00 AM

Article image
Tony Allen and Rizzle Kicks join Damon Albarn's Africa Express
Artists will cross the UK by train in September for a concert series featuring music from Europe, America and Africa

Sean Michaels

14, Aug, 2012 @9:06 AM

Article image
A week in Mali with Africa Express – Olugbenga Adelekan's diary

Metronomy's Olugbenga Adelekan and this diary of his week in Mali recording an album with the likes of Damon Albarn and Brian Eno, and local musicians

18, Oct, 2013 @3:17 PM

Article image
Baaba Maal: 'It will be a challenge for us all to live together'

The Senegalese star on his hopes for the Africa Express UK tour. Interview by Luke Bainbridge

Interview by Luke Bainbridge

25, Aug, 2012 @11:08 PM