The Africa Express: Pictures of recording an album in Mali

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image captionThe Africa Express collective of musicians has been in Mali's capital, Bamako, for a week recording an album with local artists. It is a way of showing solidarity with Mali’s artists who have had a very difficult year, following a military coup and the Islamist takeover of the north of the country.
image captionMalian legend Afel Boucum who, like the late Ali Farka Toure, comes from Niafunke, near Timbuktu, says he was appalled when the militants banned secular music last year. “I thought that I would have to leave Mali forever,” he told the BBC.
image captionThe Africa Express musicians - including one of the project’s cofounders, British rock star Damon Albarn (left) - have been recording the CD in an improvised studio at Bamako’s Maison des Jeunes cultural centre.
image captionAfrica Express, established in 2006, focuses on collaborations between African and Western musicians. Malian percussionist Bouramasy Diabate is seen here with British drummer Pauli “The PSM”.
image captionAfrica Express has brought to Mali an eclectic group of rock musicians, rappers, DJs and producers. There is also a classical musician, German violinist and conductor Andre de Ridder. He said that for him “this has been a journey of discovery both as a musician and someone from Europe who had never been to Africa”.
image captionBrian Eno (r) told BBC Africa: “I said to Damon [Albarn]: 'This is a week-long musical humiliation.' The players are so extraordinarily good that it does make me think I might consider another career." Fode Kante (l) plays an instrument he made from a calabash with hacksaw blades.
image captionOn Tuesday the musicians crossed the River Niger to visit one of Africa's greatest artists, singer Salif Keita, at his house in Bamako.
image captionKeita (in green) welcomed them and gave Eno a present. "I'm honoured to have as a guest someone who has given so much joy to the world," he said.
image caption“The Africa Express has been great for me and for all young artists who are starting their careers. It will make us known all over the world,” said one of the many talented young musicians they have worked with in Bamako, Korotoumou Dembele, who goes by the artistic name of Bijou (jewel).
image captionThe team plans to release the album in the next few weeks. Journalist and Africa Express cofounder Ian Birrell said he hopes it will "in a tiny way, help to show the level of talent there's here and promote a new lot of voices and musicians from this incredibly diverse musical country".
image captionThe Africa Express musicians will headline the Fiesta des Suds festival in the French city of Marseille on Saturday 19 October. Photos and text: BBC’s Africa’s Manuel Toledo