All aboard for the Africa Express

African Express
African Express

WHETHER it’s a celebration of all things Britpop at the Olympics or the comeback of many a 90s band (merited or otherwise) – Damon Albarn is back on the music map.

Some might argue that the Blur frontman never left – and after all, Gorillaz have been peddling their wares successfully in the interim years.

But this week, the one-time Britpopper returns to Glasgow for a show of a different kind, as co-founder of the celebrity-collaboration-gathering Africa Express.

The musical train – famed for a 2007 Glastonbury appearance – rolls into the Arches on Tuesday as part of a UK tour celebrating the London 2012 festival.

The confirmed line-up so far includes Albarn, Baaba Maal, Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, The Noisettes, Charli XCX, Kano, Amadou & Mariam, Rokia Traore, BALOJI, Fatoumata Diawara, Jupiter & Okwess...and the list goes on.

The point of Africa Express is to bring together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations, in the hope of offering new perspectives on sounds from the continent it’s named after.

The project began in 2006, when Damon Albarn took artists such as Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T on a trip to work with African legends like Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita and Bassekou Kouyate.

Each Africa Express event promises to be unique, with on-spot collaborations and covers of songs you’ll know and love.

The Arches show is the only Scottish performance in a six date tour, and with previous collaborators like Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Johnny Marr, Mark Ronson, Massive Attack, The Specials and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who will show up at the last minute is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps one for fans of every music genre, then.

Africa Express (featuring Damon Albarn and Baaba Maal) is at the Arches on Tuesday (September 4). Doors 7pm, tickets £15 plus booking fee from 565 1000.