Guinea-Bissau, Mali, United Kingdom

Most bands, whether in the western rock tradition or in African music, are built around the concept of a leader - one strong character who is the main writer, singer and spokesman and who dominates proceedings so that the other band members are little more than hired guns.

The beauty of Tama is that there is no single leader but four equally accomplished musicians and songwriters with their own contrasting but complimentary voices. "As a group it's totally democratic and open," explains guitarist Sam Mills. "Tama is a kind of space where the four of us can come together from different cultures and traditions and express ourselves. It's a band of distinctive individual personalities but everybody contributes to the realisation of each other's songs."