Amadou And Mariam

Biography

Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia first came together in 1977. Both are blind and they met at the Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako, the capital of Mali, where Amadou and Mariam were part of the Institute's Eclipse Orchestra.

By that time Amadou had already cut his teeth as a teenage guitarist in the Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako, one of West Africa's hottest bands during the Seventies. Mariam, meanwhile, had grown up listening to such admired Malian singers as Sira Mory Diabaté, Fanta Damba and Mokontafé Sako on her family's radio while also singing at weddings and in the myriad traditional festivals that are a constant feature of everyday life in Mali.

Amadou and Mariam quickly became a couple, a relationship that eventually grew to include their musical careers. Their first official concert together came in 1980. The duo, however, was constantly frustrated by the lack of professional opportunities in Mali and in the late-Eighties they moved to Abidjan, the capital of neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire.

It was in Abidjan that Amadou & Mariam first came to serious attention. In the five years from 1988 to 1993 they recorded a series of Afro-pop cassettes that brought them fame right across West Africa.

Perhaps ironically, the prevalence of pirated cassettes in the region only served to increase demand for the music of Amadou & Mariam. They were certainly famous and recognised far beyond their native Mali, their music spilling over in a rich spectrum of textures and influences, from African pop to electric blues, reggae and Cuban son.

In common with many artists from French West Africa, Amadou & Mariam also found a European home in Paris. From 1998 they toured heavily throughout France, at the same time releasing three major label albums that enhanced the couple's reputations throughout the world.

On one of those albums, 'Sou Ni Tilé', there is a track called 'Je T'Aime Mon Amour, Ma Chérie', a popular song that hugely impressed Manu Chao, the legendary artist whose classic 1998 'Clandestino' album had proved to be a landmark of Latin music.

Chao heard the tune as he was speeding around the Parisian ring road. "I fell in love with that song and its melody," he says. "For a year I played their records round the clock. What I liked most about them was this African blues-rock they play and the overwhelming softness they project." A short meeting in a Paris studio with Amadou & Mariam quickly became something much more substantial as Chao agreed to produce their next album.

The result was Dimanche à Bamako, which also features Chao joining Amadou & Mariam in front of the microphone on many of the songs. The album was recorded in both Paris and Bamako with a stellar list of musicians, including the couple's friend of 30 years, the famed keyboard player Check Tidiane Seck and Tiken Jah Fakoly, the reggae singer from Côte d'Ivoire.

The album was released in France at the start of November 2004. Six months later 'Dimanche à Bamako' had become one of the most celebrated African albums in a generation; an album that has transcended simple genres and reached across many audiences. 'Dimanche à Bamako' was released in the UK this past summer to great critical acclaim, garnering a MOBO nomination in the World category.

'Dimanche à Bamako', now a platinum album in France, has been an extraordinary success around Europe, with the single, 'Senegal Fast Food' charting at number 2 in France. Amadou and Mariam's success has not gone unnoticed in the USA either, and received a Grammy nomination in December 2005 for best World album.

Read More

Somersault Festival 2014 Line Up Amadou And Mariam, Fink, Bombino, Nick Mulvey Plus Many More..

25th February 2014 -

 Press

Somersault Festival Announces A Stellar Weekend Line Up To Join Headliners Jack Johnson And Ben Howard Amadou & Mariam, Fink, Bombino, Crowns, Neil Halstead And Nick Mulvey Confirmed To Play saturday Half Moon Run, Sierra...

Amadou and Mariam - folila

31st July 2012 -

 Review

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali whose remarkable career has gained huge recognition from some the most established music acts in the world. Their world music blend and soulful expression has interested...

Amadou and Mariam - Ce N'est Pas Bon

11th March 2009 -

 Review

Review of Amadou & Mariam's single 'Ce N'est Pas Bon' featuring Damon Albarn.I was over the moon to receive the latest Amadou & Mariam single 'Ce N'est Pas Bon' having seen this amazing duo...

Amadou and Mariam - Welcome To Mali

19th January 2009 -

 Review

Review of Amadou and Mariam's album 'Welcome To Mali'.Like many people, my first - and only - youthful exposure to music from Africa was through Radio 1's much loved late night maverick John Peel. It's...

Back to top

Amadou and Mariam Images

More Amadou and Mariam Pictures

Back to top

Amadou and Mariam Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Amadou and Mariam

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

"Fifty Shades Of Grey Trailer" Reaches Viral Status: Most Watched Trailer Of 2014

If you’re not a Fifty Shades of Grey fan, that’s ok, apparently the...

Actors That Just Can't Stand The Sight of Each Other

Recently, Freddie Prinze Jr. revealed that he thought Kiefer Sutherland was ‘the most...

Actors That Just Can't Stand The Sight of Each Other

Introducing Magic, The Band Behind This Summer's Hit, 'Rude'

You've heard the song on the radio. People are humming it anywhere...

Introducing Magic, The Band Behind This Summer's Hit, 'Rude'

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj Link Up For 'Bang Bang' Single

What happens when three of the biggest names in pop music all have...

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj Link Up For 'Bang Bang' Single

Everybody Wants A Piece of Chris Pratt, Guardian of The Galaxy

It’s been a well-documented rise to fame for Chris Pratt – the guy who used...

Everybody Wants A Piece of Chris Pratt, Guardian of The Galaxy

The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014

The San Diego Comic-Con may be over but the buzz surrounding its contents is only just...

The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014
Advertisement

Sharks And Absurdity Descend On NYC In "Sharknado 2: The Second One"

As unfortunate as the idea of Sharknado 2 sounds, it’s happening. Let that...

Tara Reid - Sharks And Absurdity Descend On NYC In

Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Scuffle

Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber are reported to have clashed on a night out on the island of Ibiza...

Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Scuffle

Chris Martin And Gwyneth Paltrow Spotted Together At Film

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were seen together at a movie screening on Monday...

Chris Martin And Gwyneth Paltrow Spotted Together At Film


More recommendations

Comments