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Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:47 UK
Africa Express open the BBC Proms
By Damian Jones
Newsbeat reporter

Africa Express
Senegalese singer Baaba Maal was backed by Romeo Stodart and Flea

Damon Albarn's Africa Express has opened the BBC Electric Proms.

Hard-Fi, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Johnny Marr and members of Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Magic Numbers teamed up with a host of African musicians to perform at Koko in London.

The marathon seven hour show also saw rappers such as Sway and Kano joining forces with the collaborative project.

The gig was part of the five day festival which runs from 22-26 October in London and Liverpool.

Senegalese singer Baaba Maal kicked off proceedings by appealing to the public "to give Africa the love they need" to eradicate disease and poverty.

He then played a short set which saw him backed by Magic Numbers singer Romeo Stodart on guitar and Chili Peppers bassist Flea as a part of an 11-piece band.

Samba cover

Hard-Fi later stepped up to perform three tracks including a samba driven cover of The Chemical Brothers single Galvanise, which featured a brass section, Baaba on backing vocals and a short rap from Kano.

The band also played Suburban Nights from their second album Once Upon A Time In the West and did their own take on The Cure's Killing An Arab.

Hard-Fi covered the Chemical Brothers song Galvanise
Get Cape Wear Cape Fly arrived on set asking if his father was in the audience.

He added: "I'm only saying that because he's been in bed sick all day and I have been in Lagos this last six days and it has been amazing. I really wanted him to see this."

He then performed a cover of the Fela Kuti track Water Get No Enemy and Hot Chip's Over And Over.

But the biggest cheer was reserved for Mali duo Amadou and Mariam who were backed by a 13-piece band made up of African musicians, Albarn on tambourine and Marr on guitar.

Africa jam

Later, Get Cape's Sam Duckworth backed hotly-tipped singer VV Brown on the bongos for her forthcoming single Crying Blood.

Albarn and Flea also performed a short jam with a trumpet and melodica, before further performances from Sway and the Chicago jazz nine piece, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.

Reverend And The Makers teamed up with Babyshambles bassist Drew McConnell and a Senegalese band for two tracks towards the end of the night, including Open Your Window which featured backing vocals from Malian singer Oumou Sangare.

Tom Doke, 20, from London, praised the event.

He said: "It's been brilliant and I think it's great that so many indie bands are getting involved in African music.

"The party really got started when Amadou and Mariam came on. Romeo from The Magic Numbers was also superb tonight and I love Damon, he's a gangster."

Tatiana Loss, 22, also from London added: "It's been really fun - I've had a great time. Amadou and Mariam were amazing, you really felt the music - it was wonderful.

Burt Bacharach and Adele
Burt Bacharach also performed at the Roundhouse with Adele
"Kano was also on top form. I thought the covers that Get Cape and Hard-Fi did were good too because they put their own spin on it."

Africa Express made their debut at the Glastonbury Festival in 2007 and performed earlier this year in Liverpool.

Last week a host of western musicans also took part in a short tour with the collective in Lagos, Nigeria.

Other Electric Proms events taking place on the night in London and Liverpool included Burt Bacharach and the BBC Orchestra, Goldfrapp and Tony Christie.



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