Artists announced for Africa Express

Published Wed 13 Feb by Owen Kimm

First artists and ticket sale details announced for Africa Express: The Circus.

Following acclaimed outings in Africa, Europe and across Britain Africa Express: The Circus will bring musical legends, emerging new artists, vocalists, DJs and producers from Africa, the West and Waltham Forest together on Friday 29 March for a celebratory cross-cultural collaboration in Leytonstone, where Africa Express co-founder Damon Albarn grew up.

Inside a big top circus tent on Wanstead Flats, the southernmost part of Epping Forest in Leytonstone, artists including Batida, Damon Albarn, Django Django, Ellie Rowsell (Wolf Alice), Gruff Rhys, Imarhan, Joan As Police Woman, Mista Silva, Moonchild Sanelly, Morena Leraba, Muzi, Onipa, Rokia Traoré, Sibot and The Good, The Bad & The Queen will unite for a joyous, one-off live performance in the heart of Waltham Forest.

Hailed as the most revolutionary force in popular music for two decades, Africa Express joins together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to break boundaries and offer a new perspective on Africa and its music. Each event is unique, based upon on-the-spot collaboration and filled with unique moments of magic. 

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Despite London’s position as an international culture capital, too many young Londoners do not have access to our city’s exceptional cultural institutions and feel unable to get involved. London Borough of Culture is a real gamechanger – it puts culture at the heart of local communities and ensures young Londoners can access the transformative power of art and music. Africa Express: The Circus will be a spectacular show, bringing together artists from across the world in Waltham Forest.”

Pre-sale tickets for Waltham Forest residents go on sale 10am here, Friday 15 February for 72 hours. Tickets will be priced at £22 & £16.50 concessions. General tickets will go on sale on Monday 18 February. 

Hear more from some of the artists involved...

“I am excited for the next Africa Express show in Waltham Forest. I am always elated by these extraordinary and unique adventures, which also happen to be an opportunity for me to spend time with artists that I love and I do not often get to see.  To be headlining the first London Borough of Culture is a wonderful bonus." - Rokia Traoré

“Growing up in a multi-racial community like Leytonstone had a profound effect on me as a boy, being so near to magical places such as Epping Forest… The Wanstead Flats helped define who I am, so this is a great honour personally.” - Damon Albarn

“I’ve been waiting a decade to play in London and it’s gonna be LIT to play in Leytonstone, it sounds cool and diverse AF.  I’m bringing the GCOM to the Forest!” - Moonchild Sanelly 

“Really excited to be involved in Africa Express again, I have a lot of amazing memories from the last project. The North and East of London in general have been my stomping ground for some time now, so it’s exciting to bring something to my own back yard, as it were. Looking forward to getting involved and meeting a load of new people.” – Dave Maclean (Django Django) 

“Our home studio is in Leyton, Waltham Forest. It's an inspiring place to make music as it has the calmness of the marshes, Epping Forest and the River Lea but is still a diverse, multicultural hub with the energy of the city. It's a real honour to be involved with the Africa Express show. Me and K.O.G (Kweku of Ghana) are extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many world class musicians on home turf!” - Tom Excell (Onipa)

"We can’t wait to bring our remodelled sounds of Lesotho to this vibrant part of London. Collaborating with other artists to reach international audiences has always been at the core of what we do." - Morena Leraba