About Afro Celt Sound System
Afro Celt Sound System is a musical group who fuse electronic music with traditional Irish and West African music. Afro Celt Sound System was formed in 1995 by producer-guitarist Simon Emmerson, and feature a wide range of guest artists. In 2003 they temporarily changed their name to Afrocelts before reverting to their original name.
Their albums have been released through Peter Gabriel's Real World Records, and they have frequently performed at WOMAD festivals worldwide. Their sales on the label are exceeded only by Gabriel himself. Their recording contract with Real World was for five albums, of which Volume 5: Anatomic was the last.
After a number of festival dates in 2007, the band went on hiatus. In 2010, they regrouped to play a number of shows ), releasing a re-mastered retrospective titled Capture.
On 20 May 2014 Afro Celt Sound System announced the upcoming release of a new album, Born. In January 2016, a posting to that website revealed that due to a dispute with Emmerson, who announced his departure from the band in 2015, there were two active versions of the band, a version led by Emmerson and a separate line-up headed by James McNally and Martin Russell. Emmerson's version of the band released the album The Source in 2016. The dispute ended on 21 December 2016, with an announcement on social media.
The inspiration behind the project dates back to 1991, when Simon Emmerson, a Grammy Award-nominated British producer and guitarist, collaborated with Afro-pop star Baaba Maal. While making an album with Maal in Senegal, Emmerson was struck by the similarity between one African melody and a traditional Irish air. Back in London, Irish musician Davy Spillane told Emmerson about a belief that nomadic Celts lived in Africa or India before they migrated to Western Europe. Whether or not the theory was true, Emmerson was intrigued by the two countries' musical affinities.
In an experiment that would prove successful, Emmerson brought two members of Baaba Maal's band together with traditional Irish musicians to see what kind of music the two groups would create. Adding a dash of modern sound, Emmerson also brought in English dance mixers for an electronic beat. "People thought I was mad when I touted the idea," Emmerson told Jim Carroll of The Irish Times. "At the time, I was out of favour with the London club scene. I was broke and on income support but the success was extraordinary".
Jamming in the studios at Real World, musician Peter Gabriel's recording facilities in Wiltshire, England, the diverse group of musicians recorded the basis of their first album in one week. This album, Volume 1: Sound Magic, was released by Real World Records in 1996, and marked the debut of the Afro Celt Sound System.
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