Manden Express @ Afrobeat Series, The Sugar Club

Manden Express is a thrillingly explosive Dublin-based international band, fusing traditional and contemporary styles of West African music from the Mande Empire of what is now known as Mali, alongside infectious Afrobeat rhyhms. Inspired by village, Wassalou (Oumou Sangare) styles and the explosion of new musical influences that merged with African music in the 1960’s it blends Kamele n’goni harp, djembe, and drums with Electric bass and guitar to produce stomping grooves and hypnotic time patterns.

Manden Express were like a cross between Oumou Sangaré and      drummer Steve Reid’s Daxaar ensemble. Rhythmic mantras guided the pulsating set closer “Safo Safo,” which ebbed and flowed to allow guitar, kamele ngoni, percussion and drums to really stretch out.

4 Star Review by Ian Patterson of AllAboutJazz

Some of our new work since lockdown

The band is the only group of it’s type in Ireland, charged with rhythmic energy and weaving together a wealth of experience in African music and other styles like flamenco, jazz, funk and rock, with band members hailing from Venezuela, Spain, Chile and Ireland.

Manden Express have appeared at festivals including Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, Fiestaval, Bray & Sligo Jazz Festival, Down With Jazz Festival, Hotter Than July, Longitude, The Big Bang Festival, Love live music, and Global Grooves, as well as top Irish venues including The Sugar Club, Whelan’s, The Grand Social, to name a few. They have also supported international acts such as Quantic, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and The Souljazz Orchestra.

Manden Express Are:

Paul McElhatton – Kamele N’goni/djembe

Nico Sewe – Balafon/percussion/vox

Jose Carlos – Bass

Jake Quinn – Drums

Miguel Angelo – Guitar


‘If Ireland has become a melting pot, Manden Express might be the band to provide its soundtrack. African, Latin and Irish musicians convene here in service of the good groove, predominantly West African as the name suggests, but sociable in its embrace of flamenco, jazz and funk too. They’re festival fit too, with previous shows at Body & Soul and Drogheda Samba Fest, and a dance friendly formula that is winning admirers at venues across Dublin from Sweeney’s to the Grand Social. Paul McElhatton introduces you to the Kamele n’goni, cousin to the West African kora, percussionist Brian Lynch has the djembe chops, and also inviting you to shake it are vocalist Emma Garnett, bassist Manuel Oliviencia, drummer Cote Calmet, guitarists Paddy Groenland and Jose Dominguez’. Down With Jazz Festival, Dublin

“Manden did an amazing set at Dublin Tropical. Their electric funky African sound warmed-up the night nicely and at the end of the set every single person in the venue was dancing.”  Jeremie MK, Director of Dublin Tropical.

Manden Express EP now available on bandcamp