In early 2012 French venue and recording studios Canal 93 came on board the project, helping to part-fund Orchestra of Samples, offering us a place on their artist-in-residence programme. In June 2012 we headed over to the French capital for a few days of recording in their studios in the Paris suburbs of Bobigny, working with over a dozen amazingly talented musicians, some from as far afield as Algeria and Togo.

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December 2011 and with the Arab Spring still in motion across the Middle-East and North Africa, we headed to Egypt to perform at the Disco Cairo 2011 event at Scharazad in the West El Balad area of the capital. Only just this year, the country has been through the Egyptian revolution but is still in it’s transitionary period and while we were there, there were still mass demonstrations in the streets and particularly in the famous Tahrir Square.

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Day one in Israel and we found ourselves on a rooftop in 40 degrees heat and no shade!  We were in Tel Aviv playing at the opening of the Icon Film Festival, who’s organisers had arranged this great fooftop location over-looking old Jaffa and the port to record a group of very talented musicians.  Perfect place to also get a tan, or rather severe sun-burn…

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We’re back in Brazil for the second time this year! Our first night in the country and only a few hours after landing we headed out to Casa São Jorge (‘House of St George’) one of the most popular Samba bars in the nearby city of Campinas, where sweaty dancers were tearing up the dancefloor and the band were giving it large.

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Ole! Just knew at some point we had to feel the heat and record some fiery flamenco. Fast toe-tapping and stamping of Cuban heels, incredibly rhythmic finger clicking and – yes – castanets! So we headed to Madrid and the rehearsal studios of La Corrala de la Danza to record a session with one of Spain’s leading flamencos dancers, Luis Ortega with his two colleagues Fernando Alfaro

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Still in Mexico and we did an interview for Indie Rocks Magazine with editor Luis Alberto González who kindly took the time to introduce us to Leika Mochán, Dora Juárez and Sandra Cuevas aka Muna Zul.  The acapella trio simply blew us away with their beautiful harmony singing, making the hairs on the back of our neck stand up! Queens of improvisation, they mix genres from folk, jazz and bossa nova to local styles like susurros, cacareos, aullidos and chasquidos.

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While in Mexico to perform at the huge Sonorama Festival in the incredible Azteca Stadium, we were introduced to Humberto Alvarez, formally from the well known Mexican band Sangre Asteka. These days Humberto is an expert in pre-Hispanic music, which we recorded him playing – from Aztec whistles and drums to playing a virtually Neolithic ‘stone xylophone’, which he feels would have been one of the first instruments humans likely invented

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