Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests album review: All aboard the Africa Express

ORCHESTRA OF SYRIAN MUSICIANSAfrica Express Presents the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests ****Transgressive

Africa Express Presents the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and Guests
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Genre: Rock
Label: Transgressive

It's at times like this that you see the real value of music. When Damon Albarn and Africa Express brought together 50 Syrian musicians and guests for a show last summer at London's Royal Festival Hall, the event itself had to overcome the sorts of obstacles that are part and parcel of the narrative around the Syrian civil war.

Yet good did win out on this occasion: the show went on, and this live album captures the indomitable energy and spirit of a clan of musicians reunited for the first time in five years. The manner in which the players slip into their groove and stir tracks up is magnificent to behold as they play alongside guests such as Julia Holter in Feel You, Paul Weller for Wild Wood, Damon Albarn with Out of Time and Noura Mint Seymali in Richa.

Left to their own devices, though, the musicians soar, spinning bold and bright patterns and textures on tracks such as 3azely and Old Damascus. africaexpress.co.uk