Africa Express is an ever-changing all-star music collective consisting of African and Western artists. The collective specialises in generating one-off moments through unique combinations. They did a triumphant closing gig at Roskilde in 2015.
In 2021, we’re welcoming Africa Express back. With a brand-new set-up and live concept. A great number of musicians on stage will take on minimalist composer Terry Riley’s “In C” from 1968, whose insistent, kaleidoscopic rhythms fed into both classical and rock.
For those not familiar with “In C”, the fun “rules” of the piece are quite basic: One instrument plays a simple, droning pulse on the note C. All other instruments have 53 melodic phrases to choose between. The effect is that the phrases overlap in various, often unpredictable ways, and you will hear shifts in harmony and (poly)rhythms. Nothing is constant, despite the repeating patterns.
Africa Express has done a studio recording of “In C”, and they put an ebullient spin on the old rhythms. The instruments alone – which include kalimba, kora, imzad, balafon, n’goni and flute – are very different from other setups and lend the piece an odd, cool darkness.
Curious how it sounds? Head over to your streaming service of choice and listen to the recording of it. You can also watch a live performance of the piece. One thing is for sure, once you find your way inside the joyous, magical sounds of “In C”, you don’t ever want them to stop again. Look forward to a groovy, head-bopping set when Africa Express takes the stage at Roskilde Festival 2021.
C you there!