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Dimanche à Bamako

Amadou & Mariam

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Album Review

Amadou & Mariam, the blind couple from Mali, have certainly paid their dues over the last 30 years, and it's about time they received their big break. Certainly given the excellent reviews in Europe, Dimanche a Bamako could be it, thanks to the production and participation by the elf prince of world music, Manu Chao. He brings a playful lightness to their soulful, bluesy Malian sound, letting in plenty of sunshine, and drawing in a sense of place through the ambience of traffic sounds and snippets of conversation. Chao is also obviously present on several tracks, such as "Senegal Fast Food," which offers a bouncy, reggae-styled rhythm so typical of Chao's own records. But even when not so obviously asserting himself, his presence is felt in the space he creates, and the use he makes of Mariam's admittedly limited voice (she's good, but no one will ever mistake her for one of the word's greatest singers), as on "Beau Dimanche," for example. Lyrically, this is very much an album of love songs, postcards between the couple, but it never veers into maudlin sentiment. Yet there's also a political edge to it, such as with "La Realite." Even if you don't understand the words, however, the entire disc is an absolute aural joy, poppy enough to be exquisitely memorable, yet with layers of resonance underneath. Likely to be one of the world music albums of 2005, it can hopefully find the kind of wide audience it surely deserves.

Customer Reviews

Easily the most uplifting world music album of the last 5 years

The mixture of talented songwriting , perfectly judged (altheough not great) vocal performances and the quirky franco/latin influence of Manu Chao make this still one of my all time favorite albums and one I frequently turn to to get an instant mood uplift.

Great apart from Manu Chao's Impositions

This album is a fantastic collection of West African pop but has really been ruined by Manu Chao imposing his own musical ideas on it especially 'Politic Amagni' which is just 'Politik Kills' from Manu Chao's own album. There comes a point where chao recycling his material becomes annoying other than that a fantastic record.

Splendid

A vet uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable album. Feel good, uplifting and international.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A musical husband-and-wife duo that got its start in Mali, Amadou & Mariam met in 1975 at Mali's Bamako Institute for the Young Blind. Amadou (born Amadou Bagayoko in Bamako in October of 1954) began his musical career in 1968, and by 1974 had joined Les Ambassadeurs du Motel, a leading group (which counted Salif Keita as a member) in his home country. He wound up at the aforementioned institute after becoming blind as a teenager through a congenital cataract. His future wife, Mariam Doumbia...
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Dimanche à Bamako, Amadou & Mariam
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