Africa Express Train Tours Britain
Africa Express is a week-long UK music tour of Africa’s most prominent artists, in partnership with several European and American performers, as part of London 2012 Cultural Festival. The artists are travelling together by train, stopping in major cities across the UK for scheduled performances, but also putting on pop-up shows at random. A tradition that’s been going on since 2006, Africa Express took on a whole new dimension this year, with the Olympic spirit of global unity adding to its appeal.
Rarely does the music scene see 80 prominent artists touring and actually living together for a whole week. Among the names on this exclusive passenger are Tony Allen, Carl Barât, Toumani Diabate, Nicolas Jaar, Krar Collective, Kyla La Grange, M1 (Dead Prez), M.anifest, Spoek Mathambo, John McClure (Reverend and the Makers), Nneka, The Temper Trap, Marques Toliver, Gilles Peterson, Rae Morris, Rye Rye, The Very Best (Soundsystem). Having departed from Euston train station yesterday, Africa Express’ first stop is in Middlesbrough today, September 3rd and will then make its way to Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and Bristol before returning to the capital for the final concert in Granary Square on Saturday 8th.
In the words of the UK artist who’s brainchild this event is, Damon Albarn of Blur fame: “Just by doing this, it’s a musical statement about unity and understanding and, you know… living together.”
This is all good news for Britain’s multicultural society, especially the Afro-Caribbean community members. What’s more, the coverage the tour is getting is quite impressive and unprecedented – with The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, Channel 4 news, ITV1 and other major media outlets turning their attention to African Express. This could be signalling a new attitude towards Africa as a whole on the part of the UK public – since all these artists aren’t only doing it for the sake of fun.
Naturally, one can only imagine the times and vibes in that train’s carriages, bursting with free-flowing creativity, but the higher purpose of this is also symbolic of Africa’s potential for greatness and need for unity among its diverse peoples. Maybe it’s more than wishful thinking to say that the Olympics have genuinely inspired the world and especially Londoners to be more open and to embrace the realities of living in global diversity. If taken on positively, society can only benefit from this new attitude the Kingdom appears to be displaying lately.
For complete information on Africa Express, as well as tickets, line-ups and venues, please visit http://www.africaexpress.co.uk/
Here and Now 365 can only rejoice at this initiative, and although we’ve been unable to attend the train’s departure, we shall be surely present at the gig on Saturday. See you there!