Independent Label Market began as a way to bring music fans closer to the imprints they love.
A regular event in London, it has grown to host special markets in cities around the world, maintaining its special chemistry.
Now located by Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, Independent Label Market returns tomorrow - November 30th - with a special bumper festive edition.
Expect mulled wine and special deals galore, along with some exclusive releases from some of the best labels around.
Africa Express will be there in force, the label wing of the ongoing internationally regarded cultural incubator.
Some very special test pressings will be on sale, and ahead of this Africa Express' lynchpin Lauren Roth De Wolf has sculpted a new playlist for Clash.
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Africa Express ft Ghostpoet, Doucoura - 'Season Change (Maison Des Jeunes)'
Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes was recorded in Bamako over seven days in October 2013 after Mali was struck by unrest and civil conflict. Africa Express musicians and producers set up a temporary studio in a city youth club and worked with a new wave of contemporary Malian musicians to complete the album in one week.
The club, situated on the banks of the Niger river and known locally as Maison Des Jeunes, became the venue for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances.
'Season Change' was produced by Two Inch Punch and features the UK's Ghostpoet, who reflected on the project: "Making music in Mali with Africa Express was amazing, humbling, life changing experience, a time in my life I will never forget. I'm just so happy I went with my gut extinct and got involved. Being on the album is just an added bonus really..."
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Africa Express ft Songhoy Blues - 'Soubour (Maison Des Jeunes)'
Songhoy Blues became the breakout stars after Africa Express’s trip to Mali in 2013. The late Marc-Antoine Moreau, manager of Amadou & Mariam and key member of the Africa Express collective, saw the band playing in the maquis or shebeens of Bamako and invited them to come along to the Maison des Jeunes.
Aliou, Oumar and Garba (all surnamed Toure, though not related) belong to the Songhoy, an ancient people with a glorious past who live along the banks of the Niger river in eastern Mali. They had fled the civil war and came to Bamako as ‘internal exiles'. To bring solace to an ever-growing community of northern refugees - Songhoy, but also Touareg and Arab - they formed a band and began to write songs about their dreams of peace and the beauty of their desert home.
This version of ‘Soubour’, a song about patience produced by Nick Zinner who also features on guitar, was their first ever recording. They went on to forge one of the most prolific global careers of any West African band in recent memory.
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Africa Express ft. DJ Spoko, FAKA - 'The Return Of Bacardi (Egoli)'
One of the last recordings by the legendary Marvin ‘DJ Spoko’ Ramalepe, who died shortly after Africa Express spent a week last year in his native South Africa. The trip brought together Western and local artists for a week of astonishing recordings, among them the pioneering electronic music producer Spoko.
'The Return of Bacardi', with its pulsating groove and deep undercurrents, is a homage to the Bacardi house music genre he created. Marvin was at the beginning of a promising touring career when he was struck by illness. Never one to give up, he put his love of music to the world until the very last days of his life as heard in this brilliant track.
Vocals are from FAKA (Fela Gucci and Desire Marea), who sing about their experience as black queer artists navigating the cis-hetero-topia of post-colonial Africa via the club scene.
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The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians ft Mounir Troudi - 'Rakeb 3al Hamra'
Many musicians, like other Syrians, were forced into either internal or external exile by the civil war raging in their country since 2011.
In 2016 Africa Express reunited nearly 50 musicians from both inside and outside Syria for a series of orchestral performances of Arabic music to celebrate the nation’s remarkable music culture, offering a more positive perspective than the tragic events seen night after night in the news.
The resulting live album included musician guests such as Sufi singer Mounir Troudi, whose vocal acrobatics soar against the orchestra in classic song 'Rakeb 3al Hamra'.
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Africa Express ft. Gruff Rhys, Morena Leraba, Radio 123, Sibot - 'Johannesburg'
The hazy, gentle yet ultra-contemporary sound of this track reflected a late-night recording session in the city after which it was named that brought together Cape Town producer Sibot, the Welsh icon Gruff Rhys and Lesotho singer Morena Lareba. This song captures the collaborative and experimental nature of this project in the most gorgeous style.
“Johannesburg is an embodiment of what Africa Express means to me. Three artists meeting, bonding and writing something so real and honest at 4am. This song reminded me of just how powerful music can be. It completely destroyed my demons and set fire to a new chapter as a producer. In the song, Morena Leraba sings a chant as someone from Lesotho going to Johannesburg looking for work like the elders did. Gruff sings a love song to Johannesburg over the chant, outlining how fucked up and beautiful it is. An unlikely but perfect duo”
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Orchestra of Syrian Musicians ft Paul Weller - 'Wild Wood'
This is one of Paul Weller’s best-known songs from his solo career, reworked with a Syrian orchestra in the most transformational style. It transports the bucolic sounds of an English songwriter into a sweeping sound that somehow reflects the epic scale of Syria’s tragedy, with lyrics that seem suddenly so pertinent.
"Day by day, your world fades away..."
"The album is very important to us. It was a very unique project, great artists like Paul Weller performing with the most brilliant musicians from Syria. It was an honour for me and it gave people another opportunity to get to know The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians for what we are - passionate, professional musicians” - Raghad Haddad, The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians
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Terry Riley, Africa Express, Andre De Ridder - 'Terry Riley’s In C Mali'
This was the most unexpected result of the 2013 Africa Express recordings in Mali: the first ever African version of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’.
Among those joining the trip was contemporary German conductor André de Ridder, who was so inspired by the talent of the local musicians he ended up creating the award-winning album ‘Africa Express Presents Terry Riley’s In C Mali’, released in 2015 to huge critical acclaim.
The recordings led to a special debut performance in November 2014 at Tate Modern in London, with subsequent release of an interactive online film of the unique event and a series of live performances in Europe.
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Independent Label Market hits King's Cross, London on November 30th.
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