Blur and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn is currently holed up in Mali making music with revered producer Brian Eno, The Wire star Idris Elba, bedroom R&B act Holy Other, and a whole host of African musicians. This according to The Guardian, who visited the crew at Maison de Jeunes, a "community space cum youth hostel" that the newspaper now characterizes as a pop-up club. The live sessions are likely being recorded for a potential album, all as an extension of Albarn's Africa Express project.
Last year, Albarn helmed a six-day train tour through the U.K. that combined the talents of 80-plus musicians hailing from Africa, the U.S., and Europe. Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Afrobeat legend Tony Allen, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner all came aboard at various points. The paper reports that a handful of the experiment's previous participants are now involved with plotting a full-length recording, starting by selecting Malian artists in part via the sessions they're now holding.
For his part, Eno is, um, hanging out: "I'm just listening. I don't know what to do other than sit there with my mouth wide open," he told The Guardian. "I don't feel inclined to sample and make loops and play over the top – for me it's too complete." While the rest of us are either a very, very expensive plane ticket or a few months away from experiencing the results of Albarn's latest project, we can, for now, take in this colorful video featuring lots of hand-drumming and random footage from the Mali excursion.