An Evening with Afro Celt Sound System
November 2018 Tour announced! Their acclaimed live performances are energetic and captivating and innovatively combine folk traditions of different cultures to breath-taking effect. They won Best Group in the 2017 Songlines Music Awards. Simon Emmerson is joined by long-term members’ vocalist, kora and balafon player N’Faly Kouyaté and Dhol drummer Johnny Kalsi. Their live show features contributions from a host of other outstanding musicians including Armagh-born vocalist and flautist Rioghnach Connolly and bodhrán player and percussionist Robbie Harris. They will also be joined by special guests Peter Tickell on fiddle, Ged Lynch on drums, Simon Richmond on keyboards and Lottie Cullen on pipes and whistle. The band are currently in the studio writing and recording a much-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s ‘The Source’ which fRoots described as “a colossus of an album”.
Tickets on sale Friday 27 April 10am


‘Do you need cheering up? Have recent world events events been getting you down??? Well what can we say?! It’s been an amazing start to 2017 for us so far, we got such and warm and appreciative response to our opening slot at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards last month, playing in front of that capacity crowd in the Royal Albert Hall must be one of the highlights of our career and now it’s just been announced we have won the Songlines Best group Award! This was a public vote so we really DO owe this one to all our friends and fans who made it happen. We really couldn’t have done this without you all! We will be accepting the award at Womad where we will be headlining the Charly Gillet stage on the Saturday night so if we don’t see you there make sure to come to one of our November tour shows and say Hello afterwards. We will have as our special guests The Dhol Foundation so it’ll be a night full of energy! Once again thank you all for voting for us in the Songlines awards and see you all soon.

Love, light and unity

Afro Celt Sound System


Following on from our hugely successful tour at the end of 2016, we are delighted to announce 15 dates in November 2017, including a return to the Barbican in London. We will be joined on the tour by label mates and our friends The Dhol Foundation who will themselves release a brand new studio album ‘Basant’ later in the year. TDF deliver a now legendary wall of sound, global rhythms and thumping contemporary beats with the effervescent Johnny Kalsi, the UK’s most celebrated player of the Punjabi dhol drum, at the heart of their live show.
Tickets are on sale Friday 17 February

07 HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
09 GLASGOW Royal Concert Hall
11 FALMOUTH Princess Pavilion
12 BEXHILL De La Warr Pavilion
14 ST ALBANS Arena
15 CAMBRIDGE Junction
16 COLCHESTER Arts Centre
17 PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
18 READING The Hexagon
19 BRISTOL Colston Hall
21 LONDON Barbican
22 CARDIFF Tramshed
23 EXETER Phoenix


Afro Celt Sound System

Simon Emmerson, James McNally and Martin Russell are pleased to announce that they have been able to set aside their differences and come to an amicable agreement to bring their dispute to an end.

Going forward, James, Martin and Simon have agreed that Simon will continue to perform as Afro Celt Sound System and James and Martin will work under a new name to be announced in due course.

While James, Martin and Simon will no longer be performing or working together they recognise, and are grateful for each other’s contribution to Afro Celt Sound System over the past two decades and will be working with the extensive community of musicians that make up the long standing Afro Celt Sound System family.

James, Martin and Simon would like to thank their colleagues, families and fans for bearing with them during this testing time, and all wish each other the best in their future endeavours.


Afro Celt Sound System,

The Observer / World Music ★ ★ ★ ★
Afro Celt Sound System: The Source review – daring and triumphant
World fusions come no more eclectic than that of the Afro Celts, with their meld of west Africa and the Gaelic diaspora. The group’s first album in 10 years tones down the electronica of earlier incarnations for a more acoustic but no less propulsive approach in which the kora, balafon and chants of Guinea vie with the pipes, flutes and reels of Highland and Ireland, and the dhol drums of bhangra. It’s an often giddy mashup: nowhere else will you hear a female African chorus alongside Gaelic rap and jazz bagpipes. Yet the group also conjures moments of beauty like Mansani Cissé/Tàladh, where harp, kora and lyrical vocals entwine majestically. A daring, triumphant creation. (Neil Spencer)

Daily Mirror ★ ★ ★ ★
Their first album in 11 years. Its loveliness shows the time hasn’t been wasted

SONGLINES ★ ★ ★ ★ Celebrating two decades by going extra large

Twenty years ago Afro Celts released a thrilling debut that remains a landmark in global dance fusion. Yet by their fifth release in 2005, the formula was strating to sound passe. A long period of silence followed and, a decade later, the return of the Afro Celts could easily have sounded like an anachronistic relic. Instead, original founder Simon Emmerson has reinvigorated the project with na influx of new blood and fresh ideas without losing the centrality of his original vision. Longtime member N’Faly Kouyate continues to provide wonderful textures on kora and balafon. But central in the band’s new ineration is Johnny Kalsi, his huge, thundering dhol drums lending unimaginable heft to the felicitous fusion of African rhythms and haunting Irish melodies. Scottish piper and Gaelic singer Griogair Ladhruidh is another major contributor, taking a more versatile role than former lead singer Larla O Lionsird, who he has effectively replaced, while guests include uillean pipers Davy Spillane, Ronan Browne and Emer Mayock, members of Shooglenifty, and a five-strong female griot vocal group from Conakry, Guinea. Old fans will find much here that is familiar. But somehow the new Afro Celts sound bigger, better and bolder than ever before. A triumph.
Nigel Williamson

Financial Times ★ ★ ★ ★
“This might or might not be a new album from Afro Celt Sound System — legal proceedings are underway about who has the rights to the band’s name.
Regardless of how that turns out, The Source turns down the electronics and amps up the kora and Uillean pipes and the storm of dhol drums that were at the heart of the original band’s sound.
Many of the songs spread out and breathe, notably “Mansani Cissé/Tàladh” and “Child Of Wonder” with its eerie narrative from the novelist Pál Ó Siadhail.
Enriching, and not just for lawyers.”

Froots ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Always an unwieldy, unpredictable beast, the Afro Celts saga turned nasty last year with a dispute between various band members over the ownership of the name, with rival factions scrambling from the carnage attempting to lay claim to the great Afro Celt standard. But founder Simon Emmerson’s wing has certainly exerted energy and ingenuity in reasserting the band’s innovative soundscapes – a delirious mix of primal intensity, spiritual beauty and explosive rhythms. Uilleann pipes collide with glorious African beats, massed voices break out through the cacophony of textures, melodies and programmed effects and the pace of the intriguing tributaries it tales is relenfless.
They are – and always were – a band geared up for grand gestures and climactic tensions and with the sainted dhol drummer Johnny Kalsi, Guinean singer / kora player N’Faly Kouyate and Gaelic singer/piper/free-thinker Griogair in the ranks, Emmerson’s restyled band have plenty of inherent drama in their armoury. And boy, do they use it! Various members Of Shooglenifty have also been incorporated into the ranks along with five piece women’s singers Les Groittes and a host of other guest artists (including uilleann pipers Davey Spillnae, Ronan Browne and Emer Maycock, flautist/singer Rioghnach Connelly and Moussa Sissoko on talking Drums), so let there be no doubt Emmerson has pulled out all the stops and this is a colossus of an album.
Strong emphasis is placed on the West African elements and they sound all the scrounger for it, the competing beats and pipe melodies apply immense layers to a caboodle that rocks and rolls and sways and shimmies and struts and stretches in unexpected ways that constantly has you trying to figure out what’s going on what’s going on, becoming more and more breathless all the while with freneticism of it all.
It’s twenty years since they first launched the brave/mad/enthralling idea of blending African music with Irish and Scots, pointing a torch a the treasure chest of multi-cultural potential available to all. It’s a potential that disappointingly few others have attempted to mine in the intervening years. So their return is welcome. And, despite the long recorded absence they prove there is still plenty of gold in them there hills begging to be explored.
Colin Irwin

i The Paper ★ ★ ★ ★
This first album in ten years from Simon Emmerson’s pan-cultural crossover collective offers perhaps the most condensed distillation of the Womad vibe, with the core unit’s alliance of Celtic reeds, African kora and Indian drums bolstered by guest performers, including female vocal groups from both the Gaelic and African traditions, and the massed drums of The Dhol Foundation. After a subdued opening, the album picks up momentum when TDF join the pipes and whistles for ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and never looks back from there.

Northern Sky Magazine ★ ★ ★ ★ Read the review online HERE

Artree Read the review online HERE

Red Guitar Music Read the review online HERE

FETEA Read the review online HERE

NE:MM Read the review online HERE

Music Trespass Read the review online HERE

Rootstime Read the review online HERE

Folk Radio Read the review online HERE Read the review online HERE

Get Ready To Rock Read the review online HERE


Afro Celt Sound System,

Twenty years since they were formed by Grammy-nominated musician and record producer Simon Emmerson, Afro Celt Sound System have announced a new studio album ‘The Source’ was released on 29 April 2016 on ECC Records. Signed copies of the album on CD or Double Vinyl are available to ORDER NOW from Townsend Music or from  (CD) Amazon and I-TUNES

‘The Source’ is undoubtedly their most ambitious album yet and one will take their cross-cultural collaboration and acclaimed live performances to another level. It is the first album to fully celebrate the African and Asian roots brought to the band by long-term members’ vocalist, kora and balafon player N’Faly Kouyaté and Dhol drummer Johnny Kalsi. Along with founder member Simon Emmerson (producer, guitars, cittern) and new core member Griogair (vocals, piping, guitars) – winner of Gaelic Singer of the Year at the 2015 Scots Trad Music Awards – the album also features contributions from a host of other outstanding musicians which together fully demonstrates the eclecticism of the band’s music including Davy Spillane (uillean pipe, whistles), Ronan Browne (uilleann pipes), Emer Mayock (Uilleann Pipes and Whistle) and Moussa Sissoka (talk drums and djembe).

The album is mixed by Afro Celt programmer, engineer and mixer Mass and Dave Botterill (who mixed the first two ACSS albums) and other guests on the album include members of Shooglenifty, plus a 5 strong female griot vocal group from N’Faly’s homeland Guinea Conakry, Robbie Harris (bodhran), Ged Lynch (drums), Seane Davey (Harp), Richard Evans (Bass and engineering), Amagh flutist and singer Rioghnach Connolly and making her debut studio session Lucy Doonan.

ARTIST: Afro Celt Sound System
Album: The Source
LABEL: ECC Records / ECC100


1. Calling in the Horses
2. Beware Soul Brother
3. The Magnificent Seven (ACSS meets TDF)
4. Cascade
5. A Higher Love (tune ‘Monkswell Road’ )
6. Honey Bee
7. Where Two Rivers Meet
8. Mansani Cissé/Tàladh
9. Child of Wonder
10. Desert Billy (tune ‘The Balcony’)
11. The Communicator
12. The Soul of a Sister
13. Kalsi Breakbeat


Afro Celt Sound System

One of world music’s top acts, with sales of over one and a half million albums and two Grammy nominations to date, Afro Celt Sound System celebrate their 20th anniversary with a stunning new album and an exhilarating live show that ranges from full-on club energy to moments of intimacy.

Shows announced so far in 2016 are:
29 January – GLASGOW Celtic Connections
02 February – BOURNEMOUTH BIC (Free Event – register via our facebook)
12 March – LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
24 July – HATFIELD Folk by the Oak

More dates and festivals will be announced very soon!

  1. Sanctus Afro Celt Sound System & The Amani Choir 5:16