Charlie has been drawn to many forms of African music ever since the Sixties when he spent 6 months living in Accra, Ghana, teaching, travelling and spending many a happy hour sitting in open air nightclubs enjoying great Highlife bands in the warm night air. Charlie later returned to Ghana to study marimba playing and this reinforced his love of African culture.
Later Charlie collaborated with the Moroccan singer Sidi Siddiki, recording an album for Globestyle Records, and worked with the great Nigerian percussionist Gaspar Lawal, guitarist Alfred Bannerman, musical adventurer Ben Mandelson and Salah Qasim, the Sudanese oud player.
Charlie has also been closely associated with Samba Mapangala, the highly talented leader of Orchestra Virunga for nearly two decades. Charlie met Samba in Nairobi back in 1989, helped bring Virunga over to UK for successful tours in the early 1990s and produced the acclaimed Feet on Fire (Sterns Records). More recently Charlie acted as executive producer for Song and Dance (Virunga Records), and the two are still collaborating both organizationally and musically.
The link with African musicians in particular was very helpful when it came to composing and producing the music for Erica Russell's animated short films. But music from Africa and beyond is still a major source of inspiration and imbues Charlie's listening, writing and playing to this day.