Premiere: Lil Silva – Bouramsy

Heated, rolling percussion dominates this track from the forthcoming Africa Express album, recorded in Mali.


Words by: Aimee Cliff

'Maisons Des Jeunes', the latest compilation album to come from Damon Albarn's ongoing Africa Express project – an intiative to facilitate collaboration between Western and African musicians – was put together in Mali this October and features work from the likes of Brian Eno, Ghostpoet, Cid Rim, Holy Other and more. 

We were particularly excited to spot the name of one Lil Silva in the list of this year's participants. The UK funky producer is known for crafting beats that bounce off the walls with energy, but in recent times has shown a warmer side of his personality in his understated electronic jams, such as No Doubt featuring Rosie Lowe. His presence in Mali with the Africa Express crew has resulted in Bouramsy, a deliciously percussive track that offsets the lightest brushstrokes of melody with heated, rolling drums. Read what the man himself had to say about the process of making it below, see some exclusive photos from Mali, and stream Bouramsy only on Dummy. 

Hi, Lil Silva! Tell us about this track, Bouramsy.

Lil Silva: "Bouramsy is actually the name of the dude who inspired me to make the track, after hearing him and his band perform under the hut in the rain, no doubt the band were dope but the riffs this dude was performing on his 'Dumi' were incredible, about that live percussion, I was instantly buzzing with ideas when I heard it! The Dumi was made up of two big conga drums with a cowbell on top! Throughout the trip I'd been capturing a lot of recordings on my phone, this by far being one my favourites I had recorded… So I went with it and I loved the outcome."

How did you get involved in this year's Africa Express?

Lil Silva: "It was via my publisher (Young Turks / Beggars). Damon and the team must have got in touch and asked if I was available, my manager and I thought it was a great opportunity to get involved and I've followed what Africa Express have been doing for a minute now. It was great to be asked."

Ghostpoet, Lil Silva and Cheick Diallo.

Any stand-out highlights from your trip to Mali?

Lil Silva: "Apart from Ghostpoet posing for photos all the time when they were really videos, and getting to work with the likes of Damon, Brian Eno and the rest of the gang at #clubYouTube [a bar in Bamako that plays Youtube videos]. 

"The main highlight was working with the Malian artists and getting to see/ hear/ feel the musical culture out there along with the fearless energy… not to mention nailing shit on the one take! I've definitely taken a lot on board for myself from the trip and it has given me a different outlook on a lot of things that I may not have been aware of before the trip."

What's on the horizon for you in 2014?

Lil Silva: "Lots… I’m working on my new EP right now and experimenting with my vocals a lot more, I'm nearly there. I’m excited to show people what I've been working on since all the positive energy from the 'Distance' EP. 

"The work I've been doing with BANKS for her debut next year is super exciting, more and more music keeps coming and we will probably have enough to do a joint record at the end of it! Who knows. All I know is that in 2014… I'm on my worst behaviourrr."

Lil Silva made us a brilliant Dummy Mix earlier this year; listen to that here.

Cheick Diallo on flute, Lil Silva, Bouramasy Diabaté on doum doum, Pauli The PSM on drums, Soumaila Diakité on Soku (monocorde violin) and Ghostpoet.