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Africa express

In 2016 Seckou was invited to take part in the Africa Express and The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians tour, a challenging but joyous venture: five shows featuring 50 Syrian artists divided by conflict and joined by guests from Africa, Europe and the US. The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians – featuring current and former members of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music – spent five days rehearsing for a show in Amsterdam before going on to open Glastonbury and Roskilde festivals, play before 4,000 people in Istanbul and perform a special show in London’s Royal Festival Hall broadcast worldwide on YouTube. The 30 musicians and 20-strong choir came from Syria and across Europe. They were joined by guests including Bashy, Bassekou Kouyate, Bu Kolthoum, Damon Albarn, Eslam Jawaad, Faia Younan, Julia Holter, Kano, MC Malikah, Mounir Troudi, Noura Mint Seymali, Paul Weller, Rachid Taha and Sekou Keita. ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to show the world another side to the Syrian story,’ said conductor Issam Rafea beforehand. It proved to be all that and more over the course of 12 days and five mesmerising concerts. The album is out now via Transgressive Music and was made possible by Google Play Music. 



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