AlbarnIt’s just after midnight in Bamako, the capita of Mali. It is very, very hot. A new group is giving its first concert. The concert is free but only a hundred people are sitting and listening.
There are a lot of different musicians in the group. Malians are playing traditional African instruments like njarkas (small violins) and koras (harps). Rock musicians from Damon Albarn’s group Gorillaz are playing guitars, drums and keyboards.
It is an important night for Albarn. He plays to big audiences in Britain and the States but he is enjoying this small concert. ‘it’s so good to be on stage in Africa for the first time,’ he says. He listened music when he was a child and, two years ago, decide he wanted to combine his music with rhythms from Africa.
Albarn wants people to discover African music. ‘we live together on this planet’ he says, ‘ but we don’t share experiences’.
Albarn is very busy with his famous groups, Blur and Gorillaz. ‘I work hard and I don’t have a lot of time but I’d love to do more of this’ he says.
And what do Malians think about it? The country’s great singer, Salif Keita, says: ‘western musicians need the inspiration and we need the popularity. Albarn listens to our music with respect’.