Published Oct 15, 2013Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn is said to be releasing a new solo album at some point this year, but that's not the only project he's got on the way. Instead, he's hanging out in Mali, working on the next album in his Africa Express series.
The project sees Albarn facilitate collaborations between Western artists and African musicians. For this one, he's kicking it in Bamako, Mali, alongside Brian Eno, Holy Other, Nick Zinner (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Idris Elba, best known as Stringer Bell from The Wire.
The Guardian reports that the group have been collaborating in a community centre in the city. Addressing recent political turmoil in the country, Albarn said, "At times it has felt odd in Bamako, with the problems in the north, but I'm just trying to personally establish dialogue with the people in this country and the music."
Eno also weighed in, offering up the following statement:
I was quite surprised coming here how broken the place is... How the streets are terrible. The open sewers stink. It's very disheartening in a way. But what is really strong here is social infrastructure — it's so powerful and rich. My feeling is that Malian music draws attention to the richness of that social capital, and if you listen to it, you realize something about this society really is sorted.
Stay tuned for more information on this African Express album as it becomes available.