The Website for Fans of the Afro Celt Sound System



This page chronicles all of the news and events involving the Afro Celt Sound System since this website was created in late 2003. 


Fall/Winter 2007 News Update


A special message from the Afro Celts to all fans:


"We'd like to wish all our fans seasonal greetings and a happy new year. We played some amazing festivals

over the summer ending in a triumphant gig in Korea. The band members are all engaged in their respective

projects at present and you will find links to all our relevant web sites via our Links page or below. Keep

checking this site for any Afro Celt Sound System updates for 2008.  Once again thanks to all the thousand of fans who came to see us in 2007 and made all the festival dates so inspirational."


Fans can stay up to date on the music and projects of most Afro Celt band members at these links:


Simon Emmerson: Simon has been extremely busy with his work on the Imagined Village, and just finished a tour of the UK in November.  The Imagined Village album and show both have been highly critically acclaimed. Learn more about the Imagined Village at


Martin Russell: Martin has been very busy working on the Imagined Village project, Johnny Kalsi's most recent CD, a project for Darfur Now and with Dorothee Munyaneza.   Learn more by visiting the Myspace page of his studio, Sonic Innovation.


N'Faly Kouyate:  N'Faly has been working on a number of projects and collaborations.  He has a very active gig schedule in 2008 and you can learn more on his excellent and informative website at


James McNally: More on James later.


Iarla O'Lionaird:  Iarla has been worked on a number of projects this year with the Crash Ensemble and Donnacha Dennehy and others.  You can learn more about Iarla's projects at, or Iarla's MySpace page.


Johnny Kalsi: Johnny has been busy touring with the Imagined Village project and the Dhol Foundation.  Check out more about Johnny's latest activities at and on the Dhol Foundation Myspace page.


Emer Mayock: Emer has had a busy 2007 playing gigs with the Afro Celts and her own shows throughout Ireland. Learn more at


Mairead Nesbitt: Mairead continues to be an essential part of the highly acclaimed and successful Celtic Woman show.  Learn all about Mairead's work at and


Moussa Sissokho: More on Moussa later.


Francis Hylton: Francis toured with the Imagined Village in November and is busy touring with Incognito. You can learn more on Francis' Myspace page.


Ian Markin: Ian is a drummer in high demand and you can learn more about his gigs on Ian's Myspace page.


Spring/Summer 2007 News Update


The Afro Celts will play four shows this summer in Europe so check out our Gigs page for more information.  We hope to have more news for you soon and thanks for visiting!


Winter 2007 News Update


The Afro Celts will play a gig on 15 February 2007 at 9 p.m. in Venice, Italy at St. Mark's Square, Piazza San Marco as part of the Il Carnevale e Venezia celebration.  Check it out!  We hope to have photos from the gig available on in the near future, as well as more news.


The Afro Celts family is deeply saddened by the news that N'Faly Kouyate's mother passed away.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to N'Faly, his sister Mariam, and the Kouyate family in this difficult time.  N'Faly will be returning to Guinea for the funeral and will not be able to join the Afro Celts for the Venice gig. 


Check out a great fan website for Iarla O'Lionaird HERE for all the latest news on Iarla. 


Fall/Winter 2006 News Update


We're pleased to announce that the Afro Celts will play two shows in Hungary on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2006.  Please check out our Gigs page for more information.  We hope to announce more ACSS gigs in early 2007. 


The band members have been busy in the last few months on both ACSS music and individual musical endeavors.  It turns out that many ACSS fans are great music producers and have created some cool remixes of "My Secret Bliss" on RealWorld's remix website. The band does listen to these remixes and Martin Russell is working on a special project using the remixes of "My Secret Bliss." Stay tuned for more. 


In addition to spending time with his wonderful five-month old son Taidi (pronounced Tay dee), James McNally has been busy touring with Ronan Keating and will be playing in Paraguay and South Africa through the United Nations in the coming months.  When not working hard in the studio on any number of musical projects (the Imagined Village project, a soundtrack for a documentary on Brazil and other endeavors), you can find Simon Emmerson glued to his binoculars bird watching at Portland Bill.  Iarla O'Lionaird has appeared on TG4 Gaelic Network television and you can always check out Iarla's site on RealWorld Records for more information.   The film "Bosta" for which Martin and Simon produced the soundtrack has been screened to a full house in London in support of the Red Cross and you may have heard the ACSS track "Silken Whip" while watching the Ryder Cup.  You can always check out the band members individual websites through our Links page for more recent news.


 June/July 2006 News Update


As we announced in the ACSS Forum in late May, the Afro Celt family grew with the birth of a happy and healthy baby boy to James McNally and his wife on May 25!  Our heartfelt best wishes to James and his family as they celebrate all the love and joy only children can add to our lives.


For all you lucky fans in Europe, the Afro Celts will play the Larmer Tree Festival on 13 July and the Hebridean Celtic Festival on 15 July.  Please check out our Gigs page for more information.


 All of the band members have been very busy with their own individual musical endeavors.  Simon Emmerson is involved with the revival of Working Week, the Imagined Village project (check out the dialogue in the ACSS Forum) and countless other projects, including music for a TV show about Brazil.  James McNally is busy being a new Dad and tours with Ronan Keating now and then.  Martin Russell is as busy as ever making music and keeping everyone up to date on the ACSS Myspace site.  Check out the Dhol Foundation website for information on Johnny Kalsi's endeavors, the Dunyakan website for news about N'Faly Kouyate and Iarla O'Lionaird's website on Real World Records for the latest on his new album.  Mairead Nesbitt is touring with the Celtic Woman show - - a must see for fans of Irish music!


We hope to bring you more news in the near future. 


April/May 2006 News Update


Please visit the Gigs page for a list of upcoming ACSS gigs, including the 29 April gig in support of Oxfam at the Ancienne Belgique, Brussels Melange Continental in Brussels, Belgium.


In addition, Anatomic was selected as one of 2005's best CDs by NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday music director. For those fans living outside the US, NPR (National Public Radio) is one of the best radio programs in the US and widely syndicated.  Also, Volume 3: Further In Time was one of the CDs selected by as Best of the Decade in Music So Far.


March 2006 News Update


Create Your Own ACSS Music!


The folks at Real World Records have created a package that will allow you to make your own ACSS music.  Go to Real World Remixed for more information! 


New Soundtrack Featuring Music by Martin Russell and Simon Emmerson


Martin Russell and Simon Emmerson are featured on eleven tracks of the soundtrack to the hit Lebanese movie "Bosta" (Autobus), a film that explores the effects of Lebanon's civil war, the divide between generations and the beauty and problems of Lebanon.  Visit the Bosta website for more information.


February 2006 News Update


We are very pleased to announce the debut of the brand new Afro Celt Sound System Forum!


The Afro Celts global community now has a new home to discuss all things related to ACSS music. As some of you know, the Afro Celts' former forum crashed late last year and it was not possible to recover the data.  Unlike the former forum, the band has control of the new ACSS Forum and it operates on a stable server so we believe that the past problems of data losses and downtime will be eliminated. Please go check out the ACSS Forum by clicking on the Forum button at the left of the page or the link in the this update and register.  Be sure and tell all your friends that are ACSS fans about the new ACSS Forum. Just as the Afro Celts are embarking on an exciting new journey, fans have the opportunity to renew all of the discussions about ACSS music that made the former forum such a great place to visit and chat with fellow fans!


January 2006 News Update


Happy New Year to all ACSS Fans!  To kick off 2006, we've posted James McNally's answers to the questions posed by fans about Anatomic and the Afro Celts on our Articles page so check it out. We've also added the lyrics to Inion (Daughter) and Mojave on our Lyrics page.


If you haven't visited the Afro Celt Sound System's website at, please do so now, sign up, add your comments and read Martin Russell's blog "Engaging with 2006 . . ."  You can also hear exclusive tracks that have never been released on any ACSS CD.


November/December 2005 News Update


The Afro Celts want to wish all their fans a wonderful holiday season!  A big Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, peaceful Winter Solstice, Happy Kwaanza and rockin' new year to all fans around the world! The Afro Celts also extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every fan for their support throughout the years.


The New ACSS Website on With New Streaming Audio Tracks!


The hard-working and tireless Martin Russell is in the early stages of setting up a website on for the Afro Celts.  Please click HERE to be transported to these pages. Martin has uploaded for streaming audio three new excellent exclusive tracks: When I Still Needed You (US Radio Edit), My Secret Bliss (US Radio Edit) and Mojave (the stereo downmix from a new surround sound version)!  Please sign up for the ACSS Blog, add yourself to the ACSS Friend's Space and add your comments.  There are lots of great ideas for this website so bookmark it and visit frequently.


Anatomic at the Top of the Echoes Listener Poll


Anatomic was number 2 in the Echoes Listener Poll for 2005. View the results by clicking HERE.  An excellent finish given the tough competition! is an excellent website and internet radio station full of cool music that will appeal to ACSS fans so check it out!


Transglobal Underground Remix of Sene´


If you haven't checked out the RealWorld Records microsite for the Afro Celts, please do so by clicking HERE.  TGU's remix of Sene´ is now available as a free MP3 download.


James McNally Question and Answer Session about Anatomic!


Fortunately, your webmaster saved the dialogue between James and fans before the Great ACSS Forum Crash of 2005.   


October 2005 News Update

The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived with the release of the Afro Celt Sound System's new incredible CD - Volume 5: Anatomic!  We highly recommend that you rush out and buy it at your favorite music shop or online retailer!


Special Features and Events This Month:


James McNally Answers Your Questions on Anatomic!

Band member and multi-instrumentalist virtuoso James McNally is now answering your questions about Anatomic in the ACSS
Forum for a limited time only!

Simon Emmerson Shares His Thoughts In the ACSS Forum

Band member Simon Emmerson, whose many talents include a vast knowledge of ornithology and a repetoire of English folk
dances, returns to the ACSS Forum to share his thoughts about Anatomic! 

Martin Russell Speaks - A Rare Inside Look At The Making of Anatomic!

We were able to persuade Martin Russell, the man behind the Afro Celts, to break his silence and come to the forefront to enlighten us about Anatomic!  We are honored and thrilled that Martin was willing to share his experiences with us and we
believe that ACSS fans will be amazed as Martin guides us on an exclusive behind-the-scenes journey in the making of Anatomic.  

Check out our review of Anatomic on the Articles Page and the Discography Page! Our resident discographer Don shares his
thoughts, with contributions from Kathleen, the webmaster. 


Check out our Lyrics page for lyrics to Anatomic! We get lots of requests for lyrics so we brought you the lyrics from Anatomic in English, Malinke and Gaelic!  We don't have the lyrics in Uzbeki or Kinyarwanda but we did our best to get lyrics in three of the five languages that grace Anatomic.

August/September 2005 News Update

The Afro Celt Sound System's New CD Volume 5: Anatomic is now scheduled for release on October 3 in the UK and October
4 in the USA!


Coming Attractions: In the next couple of weeks, we will update our Discography page to include Anatomic and offer a few words on each track.  We will also update our Lyrics page with the lyrics to many of the songs on Anatomic.

Iarla O'Lionaird's new CD, Invisible Fields, was released on August 23, 2005 and is now available in the US as an import.  Visit
Iarla's microsite on the RealWorld Records website for more information.

Johnny Kalsi's band, The Dhol Foundation, released a new CD called "drum-believable".  Visit The Dhol Foundation's website
for more information.

June/July 2005 News Update

See The Afro Celt Sound System Live - Two August DJ Gig Dates

West Belfast, Ireland: On Friday, 5 August at 8 p.m., the Afro Celt Sound System will perform a DJ show in connection with
the West Belfast Community Festival:Feile An Phobail, West Belfast, Beechmount Leisure Centre, Falls Road, Belfast: For more details to to

Brussels, Belgium On Sunday, 21st August, the Afro Celt Sound System will perform at the Euritmix Festival at Grand Palace, Brussels, Belgium. 

What is an ACSS DJ Show?


The Afro Celt Sound System have a new streamlined DJ set-up which is squarely aimed to keep you dancing by incorporating global grooves, Celtic-flavoured techno and live tribal percussion.  Based on the Afro Celts’ global mix, the line-up features combinations of DJ mixing and guitars from Simon Emmerson, bodhran, whistles and keyboards from James McNally, kora and vocals from N’Faly Kouyate, toplines from Emer Mayock on uilleann pipes and flute, and Johnny Kalsi of The Dhol Foundation with his unmistakable powerhouse rhythms.  Don’t miss this exhilarating, foot stomping, melodic rush!!

Afro Celts' New CD - "Anatomic" to be released September 10.


According to Real World Records, the Afro Celts' new CD entitled "Anatomic" will be released on 10 September 2005.  Here is the lastest news from Real World Records:

"The original and still the best! The Afro Celts will be back with Volume 5 of their global journey in September. Musicianship of the highest order is infused with heart-felt depth of emotion. Featuring guests Dorothee Munyaneza from Rwanda and Sevara Nazarkhan from Uzbekistan the band continue to push back the boundaries and explore new musical territories. 'Anatomic' sums up the last 10 years the Afro Celts have spent creating complex, beautiful and dramatic films of sound."


April 2005 News Update


Tour Dates! Yes, that's right. We're very happy to announce an Afro Celt Sound System gig this summer.  More dates may be added and we will announce them here as soon as we can confirm the gigs.  The gig date that is confirmed is June 5th - Hay on Wye Festival, U.K.  Please note that this is an Afro Celt Sound System DJ show (5 band members will be performing on stage).


March 2005 News Update


As we reported in the January/February 2005 update, as part of the BBC Radio 3's Awards for World Music 2005, they have done a feature on the Afro Celts'  development of one of the tracks on their forthcoming CD from the beginning stages to mixing the track.  This feature will focus on Simon and Dorothee Munyaneza and will air throughout the day on March 6, 2005 on BBC Radio 3.


January/February 2005 News Update


The Afro Celts have not been quite as active in the Forum lately because they have been hard at work in the studio mixing Volume 5 which is due to be released later this year!  There is no scheduled release date at this time, but we anticipate that it may be toward the end of summer.  


We can tell you a few things about Volume 5!  First, the Afro Celts do listen to the requests of their fans and all of us that have begged that a certain tune that shares its name with a particularly arid region of California be on the album will be ecstatic that the band has heard our requests!!   Second, the band has collaborated again with the amazing fiddler from the Bronx, Eileen Ivers, as well as a couple of other Real World recording artists. 


Next month, in connection with the BBC Radio 3 Music Awards, Radio 3 will air some short broadcasts on the progress of the Afro Celts recording of a song on Volume 5 with Dorothee Munyaneza, a Rwandan singer, about Dorothee's mother's efforts to find her after the Rwandan genocide.  If possible, we'll try to find out the broadcast times but fans can also check the BBC Radio 3 website for more information.  Volume 5 will also feature a duet by Iarla and Real World recording artist Sevara from Uzbekistan, who has toured with Peter Gabriel.


November/December 2004 News Update


The Afro Celts want to wish all their fans a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!  The Afro Celts also sincerely thank each and every fan for their support this year and look forward to a great 2005 with the release of Volume 5! Speaking of Volume 5, the band has been working hard on the album in their studio on Britannia Row. 


Following in the tradition of their first four releases, the Afro Celts have collaborated with other artists in the recording of Volume 5.  We can report that one of the artists that the Afro Celts have collaborated with on the new album is Dorothee Munyaneza, an amazing young Rwandan singer they met through their work composing the soundtrack for the movie Hotel Rwanda.  Check out and look for the movie at a theatre near you this month.


In addition to working on Volume 5, the band members have been spending time on solo projects and enjoying time with family and friends. Iarla has finished recording a new CD to be released next year on RealWorld Records and will be performing on the "If I Could Read The Sky" tour in the U.K. next month. Check out the individual band member websites for more information on their solo endeavors.


Searching for that perfect holiday gift?  How about introducing your friends and family to the music of the Afro Celts!  WOMADshop is offering a special bundle of two Afro Celts CDs and a rare Afro Celt T-shirt for a limited time only.  Don't forget that the individual band members have their own CDs available that make wonderful holiday gifts. 


September/October 2004 News Update


Here are a few Afro Celts news updates from


Afro Celts Music Featured in 'Hotel Rwanda' movie  "Ten years ago, some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda - and in an era of high-speed communication and round-the-clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. In only three months, almost 1 million people were brutally murdered. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages. Harrowing and deeply moving, Hotel Rwanda is his story. "The Afro Celts have written music for this upcoming movie directed by Terry George and starring Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix. To be released in December 2004.


N'Faly Kouyate's band Dunyakan releases an excellent new CD entitled Kora Grooves


N'Faly Kouyate and Dunyakan have just released a fantastic CD called "Kora Grooves from West Africa" on the Arc Music label.  Dunyakan is N'Faly's own ensemble in which blues, world music, jazz and the traditional music of West Guinea are integrated. It has lyrics and great liner notes and is available on


August 2004 News Update


Afro Celts' August Gig Dates


Don't forget that fans in Europe have two great opportunities this month to experience the Afro Celts live!  Don't miss these shows!  The gig dates are as follows:


7th August - Veysonnaz, Switzerland, Guinness Irish Festival.
9th August  - Budapest, Sziget Festival.


Pod Released in Europe on July 12


The Afro Celts' new remix CD, Pod, was released in Europe last month.  There is a review on our Articles page and discussions on Pod in the Forum.  Make sure you pick up your Pod CD with the bonus DVD today!


July 2004 News Update


Listen to the Afro Celts' Celtic Connections Performance on BBC Radio Scotland! We've just learned that the Afro Celts' gig at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland on January 30, 2004 was recorded and will be broadcast this Saturday, July 24, on BBC Radio Scotland at 1805 (UK time)!  If you couldn't make it to Glasgow, you have a rare chance to listen to it thanks to BBC Radio Scotland.  We've heard that it will available on the web so click on this BBC Radio Scotland link and check the Home page on Saturday for the link to the broadcast!  Special thanks to BBC Radio Scotland for their support of the Afro Celts!


June 2004 News Update


New Tour Date Information! In addition to the two summer festival dates previously announced, the Afro Celts will perform in Budapest and play a surprise gig in another European country this summer.  Their current summer tour schedule is:


18th July - Larmer Tree Festival, UK. 
7th August - Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
9th August  - Budapest, Sziget Festival.


April/May 2004 News Update


Check out our review of Pod on the Articles Page and the Discography Page!


Our resident discographer Don shares his thoughts, with contributions from Kathleen.  We've made a few additions to our Lyrics page! You can now learn about a few songs that have lyrics in Malinke, the language of many West African countries.


Afro Celts Live on TV in Europe!


On May 1st, the Afro Celts and the Chieftains will be performing on RTE1 TV, the Failte Session, in Ireland to celebrate the addition of 10 new countries to the European Union.  The performance will be broadcast live in Europe from the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, around 10:45p.m. Saturday night, May 1st. The audience will be 250 invited guests from the communities in Ireland and of the 10 new countries.  Turn on your TV and tune in!


Release Date Information on Pod


The Afro Celts' new CD called Pod, together with a bonus DVD with great videos, is scheduled to be released on May 4, 2004 in the United States!  Pod will be released under the Afro Celt Sound System name and is now availabe for pre-order on several websites.  None of those websites have the track listing.  We do!  Go to the Discography page, scroll down to the information on Pod, and you will see the track list and convenient links where you can pre-order Pod now.  Additional exclusive information on Pod is available in some of the news posts below.


New Afro Celts Tour Date Information


We've just learned that the Afro Celts will play two summer festival gigs in Europe this year! 


18th July, Sunday: Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury, UK
7th August, Saturday: Veysonnaz Guinness Festival, Veysonnaz VS, Switzerland


Radio Interview With Simon Emmerson


Listen to an interview with Simon Emmerson on BBC 4 Radio about how his travels inspired the formation of the Afro Celts and his recent trip to Lebanon for research for the soundtrack of a film titled L'Autobus. 


New Features on


Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Check out our new features on the Articles page - - our Afro Celts' fan e-mail of the month selection and an article entiled "Livin' the Bardcore Life" written by Simon Emmerson.


February/March 2004 News Update


Although we have been sworn to secrecy, we can tell you a few things about Pod that were previously posted on this website or available from Real World notes.  Before we get to some specifics, a few words about Pod generally. Just like all other Afro Celts' CDs, Pod showcases the Afro Celts' boundary crossing, barrier breaking and innovative approach to music.


In its 13 tracks, Pod encompasses a wide range of remixes of Afro Celt songs, ranging from a killer DJ mix section to an ambient remix of Persistence of Memory to a new extraordinary mix of Whirly Y Reel. Pod is not like any other remix CD as it mixes live bass and drum beats into the songs to create a hard charging, beat driven CD.  Pod has remixes of at least one song from every Afro Celt CD, representing a great compilation of remixes of the best of the Afro Celts over their ten years together as a band. 


As previously reported, Pod is packaged with a bonus DVD created  by the Afro Celts and the multimedia team at Real World.  The DVD includes live footage of the Afro Celts' groundbreaking gig at WOMAD in Seattle, the increasingly hard to get video of When You're Falling, a 5/1 surround sound version of North that will require many of us to get new stereo systems and the beautiful video of Persistence of Memory that features stunning visual imagery from travels around the world!  This is a must own for any Afro Celt fan!


Simon recently returned from Lebanon where he was researching music for the film titled L'Autobus about traditional and modern music in post war torn Lebanon. 


The band continues to work on the film score for the movie Hotel Rwanda mentioned in the January news update.


The Afro Celts had a great gig at the Celtic Connections Festival at the end of January.  Special thanks to all you fans that traveled to Glasgow to catch the only planned Afro Celts gig this year!  And congratulations to Celtic Connections for winning an award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.


January 2004 News Update


It's been a very busy start for the Afro Celts in the new year.  Here are just a few of the latest events:


The Afro Celts have been commissioned to write three film scores: a film titled L'Autobus that is a French-Lebanese production directed by Phillipe Aractingi; a film titled Hotel Rwanda that is being produced by Alex Kitman-Hoo and music for the Jade Carman production of Jinx. T


The Afro Celts received an official invitation to the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards thanks to all of you fans that voted for the Afro Celts as the Best Live Act of 2003


Although the official invitation doesn't mean that they've won the award, there is no doubt that the Afro Celts are the best live band!!  The Afro Celts thank you all for the great support


The Afro Celts were voted number 1 in the 2003 Echoes Poll


Echoes is a critically acclaimed daily two-hour music soundscape, distributed by Public Radio International and broadcast on over 150 radio stations from Maine to California. The Echoes staff picked their 25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2003 and the Afro Celts' "Seed" was chosen as number one!. The Echoes staff describes their top 25 Essential Echoes CDs as the "discs that made us want to get up and produce a radio show everyday, music that pushed our envelope and attained a certain pinnacle of perfection."


The Afro Celts and, particularly, Martin Russell, have been hard at work finishing the new re-mix CD, which now has an anticipated release date of March 2004.  We hope to bring you exclusive, pre-release reviews of selected songs on the new re-mix CD so stay tuned! The Afro Celts have also been hard at work in the studio writing new material for Volume 5!


Remember, for you lucky fans in Europe, the Afro Celts will play Celtic Connection's Festival at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday, January 30, 2004!  Walk, run, drive, bike, take a train, take a plane, take a bus or crawl to Glasgow to see the Afro Celts!  



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