Bassist Flea Balzary and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers joined the multi-genre, multi-dimensional music maker, Damon Albarn, as part of Africa Express.
The music project has helped bring Western musicians to Africian nations and African musicians to perform collaborations in the United Kingdom. Flea and Klinghoffer were two of the lucky musicians who got to perform in Ethiopia because of the “profound” Damon Albarn co-founded initiative.
“Josh [Klinghoffer – guitarist] and I went to Ethiopia as part of Africa Express with Damon, who was so kind to invite us, said Flea in an interview with NME. “What an amazing place it is. We meet all kind of people, artists, poets, intellectuals. It’s like another world.”
“We had such a good time,” Flea continued. “One time me and Josh went to this orphanage and we took these two little amps and we just started rocking and they left just started laughing. Like three hundred kids standing all in this circle, all from this orphanage and we just started rocking. Just the two of us. They thought it was the craziest thing. It was righteous man. It was a really profound experience.”
African musician Baaba Maal explained his own experience in an interview with the Guardian. ‘It’s always felt like a journey on an African train,” said Maal. “You set off without any sense of expectation whatsoever…but along the way you meet some amazing people.”
This isn’t the only time Flea has worked with Albarn. Alongside drummer Tony Allen, Flea and Albarn make up experimental side project “supergroup” Rocket Juice and the Moon.
“Supergroup sounds pretty silly,” said Flea about the band. “Damon and Tony are two musicians I admired plenty before I worked with them. Damon’s an amazing musician, and his storytelling ability on a song like Poison seems to be in his blood.”