Amadou & Mariam


Malian music’s golden couple

“I don’t think there’s ever been a band from Africa with whom people have engaged in such a way.” Damon Albarn’s words – about the blind married couple Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia ­– are both generous and correct. For all of Mali’s musical exports over the past 30 or so years, none have enjoyed the goodwill afforded the couple and their swinging, bluesy sound. And this goodwill extends beyond their legions of fiercely loyal fans across West Africa and beyond. Amadou and Mariam have been invited to be support acts for U2 and Coldplay, while also sharing studio time with Manu Chao and Scissor Sisters, and being a key cog in Albarn’s sprawling Africa Express project. All the while – since meeting at an institute for the blind in the 1970s – their own work continues to shine. “We are here,” Amadou told The Observer. “We struggle, we succeed, we understand each other. That’s it.”

Click here to listen to Amadou & Mariam on the Discover WOMAD 2018 Spotify playlist.