Damon Albarn onstage at The Roundhouse London, 2010, with members of The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music © Mark Allan
Following a series of acclaimed dates in the UK and Europe this summer, Africa Express announces the release of a live album entitled Africa Express Presents… The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians & Guests, out 9 December 2016 on Transgressive Records.
The recordings were made in June when The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, featuring current and former members of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, came together for the first time since the conflict in their country flared up five years ago. They were joined by artists from Britain, Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Turkey, Tunisia and the United States including Bashy, Bassekou Kouyaté, Bu Kolthoum, Damon Albarn, Eslam Jawaad, Faia Younan, Julia Holter, Malikah, Mounir Troudi, Noura Mint Seymali, Paul Weller, Rachid Taha and Seckou Keita.
The joyous and uplifting album showcases Syrian and Arabic music, alongside unique interpretations of some well-known Western songs. It features tracks recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall – a show described in a 5 star review by the Evening Standard as “an epic paean to their lost homeland”- as well as songs from the storming opening slot on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage and the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, Istanbul Jazz Festival and Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
This album was made possible with the support of Google Play Music.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW & Holland Festival.