Group Members: Ronan Browne, Manu Katche, Caroline LaVelle, James MacKintosh, Ian MacLeod, James McNally, Martin Russell, Ayub Ogada, Simon Emmerson, Myrdhin, Jo Bruce, Malcolm Crosbie, Gary Finlayson, John Fortis, Davy Soillane, Angus R. Grant
Styles: West African, Alternative Pop/Rock, Ethnic Fusion, Ireland
The traditional music of Western Africa and Ireland is fused into a seamless blend by the Afro-Celt Sound System. The band's exciting performances have become a popular attraction at the WOMAD festival in Reading, England since 1995, while their 1996 debut album, Volume 1, remains one of the most successful examples of cultural exchange.
The Afro-Celt Sound System brings together top-ranked musicians including traditional Irish vocalist Iarla O'Lionard, uilleann pipers Davy Spillane (Moving Hearts) and Ronan Browne, whistle player James McNally (the Pogues), Kenyan nyatiti player Ayub Ogada and Baaba Maal band members Kauwding Cissakho and Massamba Diop. Jo Bruce, the son of British bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce (Cream), rounds out the group on keyboards and electronic programming. Several tracks on the band's debut album, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Simon Emmerson, featured members of Shoonglenifty on mandolin, bongos, banjo, guitar and fiddle. Released initially on the EMD/Real World label, Volume 1 was issued in the U.S. by Caroline Records. The Afro-Celt Sound System made their U.S. concert debut in July 1997. Their second album, Volume 2: Release, was finally issued in 1999 by Real World. Volume 3: Further In Time, which featured guest vocals on Life Begins Again by Robert Plant, was released in spring 2001.
- Craig Harris (All Music Guide)