Afro Celt Sound System

Afro Celt Sound System (UK)

In 1995, a brave studio collaboration explored links between Irish and African musical traditions, shaping this deep, mystic groove into a pulsating contemporary sound. Afro Celt Sound System came together through producer and guitarist Simon Emmerson collaborating with producer/composer James McNally, engineer/programmer Martin Russell and Irish vocalist Iarla O’Lionaird.

The idea formed in 1991 when Emmerson produced an album by Baaba Maal in Senegal, noting a similarity that one tribal melody had to a traditional Irish air. Returning to London, Emmerson researched and became fascinated by historical suggestions that ancient nomadic Celtic tribes spent time in Africa. It led to heady musical experiments through seven albums, featuring cross-cultural fusion contributions from artists including Johnny Kalsi (of the Dhol Foundation, Transglobal Underground), Emer Mayock, N’Faly Kouyate, Robert Plant, Sinead O’Connor, Davy Spillane, Liam O’Flynn and Peter Gabriel.

Now, after several years apart, Afro Celt Sound System returns to present its anthology, Capture 1995-2010. Having achieved more than two million album sales, two Grammy nominations and provided soundtracks for the films Hotel Rwanda and Gangs of New York, the ensemble also enjoys a formidable live reputation. It has delivered pulsating performances at major festivals including WOMAD, Glastonbury, Montreux Jazz Festival – and wowed crowds with stellar gigs at WOMADelaide 1997 and 2001.