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Mali’s lasting impression on Frome musician


Dan (aka Invisible System) in Mali

Dan (aka Invisible System) in Mali

Musician Dan Harper, aka Invisible System, recently returned home to Frome after a month-long trip to Bamako in Mali, where he collaborated with local musicians to create his new album.

He has hailed the trip a success, having raised over £1,000 in donations towards the project, created a huge amount of music, and enjoyed integrating with the Malian community. Since returning Dan has returned to full-time work as a teacher, whilst juggling the  mixing and editing of the  recordings.

Dan said, “For me the point of the project was not just to make a new album – although we have created two at least – it was to share and learn art forms and culture.  I benefitted, they benefitted, both interested in each other’s sounds and ways of playing.

“We have so much good traditional and modern music, way beyond anything I have ever done before. I can release it myself but will also give some demos to labels such as World Music Network, who I’ve worked with before.

“The social and cultural side was as good as the music and this is a long term project; I feel a lot closer to the culture, and plan to return there in the future, and base part of my life in the country.

“The people are very poor, but rich in humanity, and have a real sense of social fabric, look out for one another and enjoy life. They have so much time for people that we have totally lost here. I’ve tried to readopt this on my doorstep, and have spoken more to my neighbours and passers-by in the last week than in the last five years!

“The Kickstarter response from Facebook  was amazing and clocked up £1,085 which helped me pay for musicians’ wages, food, drink, taxis etc. The response from Frome, however, was disappointing; there was not one pledge but there is obviously money around.

“I have done it for years for the love of it, but it does burn you out!”

Invisible System in Mali was a project funded by The Arts Council and The British Council, who helped provide Dan’s travel and accommodation. To find out more about Invisible System, and Dan’s project, go to