Africa Express – a collective of African and Western musicians – brings together artists from different cultures, genres and generations for exceptional collaborative events. They will perform Africa Express presents…Terry Riley’s In C Mali, an innovative new version of the 1964 minimalist classic. It was originally recorded in Bamako after the Islamist takeover of much of Mali in 2013, then released on album and premiered at Tate Modern. Riley himself says In C Mali sounds ‘as if the music is coming home’. This live performance will be conducted by André de Ridder, including koras, n’goni and balafons alongside vocals and a DJ. In line with Riley’s instructions, the live performance is unplanned. Each musician chooses how often they repeat the 53 short phrases which make up the piece, creating an irrepressible musical kaleidoscope.
Terry Riley (1935)
In C (1964)
Holland Festival Proms
Six concerts by world class artists in one day at the Concertgebouw, standing tickets for only 10 euros per concert, seating on the balconies and the stage. That is the Holland Festival Proms, the concerts held on the festival’s final weekend, hosted by Thomas van Luyn. Throughout the afternoon and evening, ensembles ranging from the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra to American singer-songwriter Ben Folds with yMusic, and from the Kronos Quartet to a Moroccan Gnawa ensemble will perform on stage. Opening with a family concert from the Netherlands, the programme will journey through different genres round the world to conclude with a Malian version by Terry Riley’s minimal masterpiece In C. And if you still can’t get enough, you can join our festive afterparty.
Africa Express presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali
In January 2015, to mark the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley's pioneering masterpiece In C, Africa Express released the first African version of the minimalist classic titled Africa Express presents… Terry Riley's In C Mali (Transgressive Records).
This new version was recorded at the Maison des Jeunes youth club in Bamako, Mali in 2013, led by contemporary conductor André de Ridder. The album features the cream of new artists from Bamako, among them Adama Koita, Bijou, Cheick Diallo and Modibo Diawara alongside Africa Express stalwarts Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Jeff Wootton and Nick Zinner. Co-produced and mixed by Andi Toma (Mouse on Mars), the album release followed a rare performance of the piece, presented by Africa Express and Tate Modern, on the Bridge of the Turbine Gallery at Tate Modern. The event was recorded for an interactive film linking minimalist art and music featuring the live performance of the work, intercut with iconic minimalist works from the Tate Collection.
Terry Riley’s In C is often cited as the first Minimalist composition and continues to receive numerous performances around the world every year from musicians of all standards and musical backgrounds – from classical to rock to jazz to non-Western. The various recordings made over the years reflect the all-encompassing nature of the work. Terry Riley celebrated his 80th Birthday in 2015 and he continues to be an active composer. On 4th November 2014, exactly 50 years to the day from the world premiere of In C, the composer said: ‘I am overwhelmed and delighted by this CD. I was not quite prepared for such an incredible journey, hearing the soul of Africa in joyous flight over those 53 patterns of In C. This ensemble feeds the piece with ancient threads of musical wisdom and humanity indicating to me that this work is a vessel ready to receive and be shaped by the spontaneous feelings and colours of the magician/musician. I could not ask for a greater gift for this daughter’s 50th birthday.’
Hailed as the most revolutionary force in popular music for two decades, Africa Express brings together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to break boundaries and offer a new perspective on Africa and its music.
Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when co-founder Damon Albarn took the likes of Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T to work with African legends such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam and Bassekou Kouyate. This was followed by a trial London event, the now-legendary Glastonbury 2007 show, followed by trips to Nigeria, the Congo, Ethiopia, together with shows in a Liverpool variety hall and at the BBC Electric Proms, as well as for a 25,000 strong crowd in Paris town centre and 50,000 people on a Spanish beach show. In 2012 a week-long train tour of the UK, with more than 100 artists taking part, captured global headlines.
Each event is unique, based upon on-the-spot collaboration and filled with one-off moments of magic. Past events have included Baaba Maal singing Take Me Out with Franz Ferdinand; Johnny Marr duelling guitars with Amadou and Mariam; Mick Jones and John Paul Jones among the stars backing Rachid Taha on Rock el Casbah, Peter Hook joining Spoek Mathambo on his cover of Control; and Paul McCartney and John Paul Jones both playing bass with Rokia Traoré, who then joined the former Beatle on Wings track Good Night Tonight at the final show of the Africa Express in September 2012.
The critically acclaimed album Africa Express presents… Maison Des Jeunes (2013) was recorded in Bamako, Mali over 7 days in October 2013. Africa Express musicians and producers, including Brian Eno, Nick Zinner, Ghostpoet and Damon Albarn, set up a temporary studio in a city youth club and worked with a new wave of contemporary Malian musicians - including Songhoy Blues, Kankou Kouyaté and Bijou - to complete the album in one week. The club, situated on the banks of the Niger river and known locally as Maison Des Jeunes, became the venue for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances. The resulting 11-track album captures the spontaneity and excitement of a unique week in a country famed for its musical heritage, yet which saw music briefly banned in much of the nation following 2012’s coup and militant takeover in the north.
And in January 2015, to mark the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley's pioneering masterpiece In C, Africa Express released the first African version of the minimalist classic, Africa Express presents… Terry Riley's In C Mali. This new version was recorded at the Maison des Jeunes youth club in Bamako, Mali in 2013, led by contemporary conductor André de Ridder. The release followed a performance of the piece, presented by Africa Express and Tate Modern, on the Bride of the Turbine Gallery at Tate Modern, and at the Ruhrtriennale Festival of Arts in Bochum, Germany
- Terry Riley
- André de Ridder