Africa Express storms Boro
By Rob Ten
Tuesday 04 Sep 2012 14:21:00
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Sizzling four-hour show thrills packed Town Hall crowd - Groundbreaking music collective Africa Express have described their sizzling four hour show in front of a packed crowd at Middlesbrough Town Hall last night as “the perfect way to kick off their tour.”

A train packed with more than 80 musicians thundered into Middlesbrough yesterday with a jaw-dropping line-up including Blur & Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, Maximo Park, former Libertine Carl Barat, Jon McClure from Reverend & The Makers, storming Brighton hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, East London rapper Kano, chart-topping Australians The Temper Trap, Nick Zinner from New York’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and modern folk pioneer Rachel Unthank.

And a mouth-watering array of African stars included Senegalese legend Baaba Maal, Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, Rokia Traore, inspirational Congolese singer Baloji, previous Damon Albarn collaborators Jupiter & Okwess International, Malian songstress Fatoumata Diawara, and many more besides.

Speaking straight after the gig last night, Africa Express Co-founder Ian Birrell said: “A Monday night in Middlesbrough turned out to be the perfect way to kick off the tour. What a wonderful reception! An amazing crowd, amazing energy, and a wonderful show. And we’ve only just got started.”

Graham Ramsay of promoters Ten Feet Tall added: “What an absolutely amazing night. It’s completely surpassed all our expectations and has been far and away one of the best gigs we’ve ever been involved with.

“The music was just out of this world, absolutely electric all night long. But, more than anything, an incredible crowd. Right up for it, mega appreciative, and 100% enjoying what was unfolding in front of them from start to finish. Hats off to them! I think we all did Boro proud tonight.”

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.

The Africa Express trip is part of the London 2012 festival and is produced in association with the Barbican.

Photos - Tracy Hyman

Africa Express

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