Idris Elba has put his acting work on hold to join Damon Albarn's Africa Express project in Mali.

The Wire star and Albarn have begun holding live performances with local musicians at the Maison des Jeunes community centre in the country's capital Bamako, and are working on what might become the first African Express album.

Albarn tells Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "I keep coming back to Mali... I'm trying to personally establish dialogue with the people in this country and the music."

The Blur frontman set up Africa Express in 2006 as a series of collaborations between western and African artists last year (12) with the intention of creating a "level playing field" between musicians.