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Awards for World Music 2006
Amadou & Mariam
Every now and then, a group manages to get just about everything right. They start with great songs, and an irresistible performance style. They team up with the right producer. They sign to the dream label. Their manager is a marketing genius. All around them are people who are ready to devote themselves heart and soul to their cause. They release a record, and they sell a million. It's a rare feat, and even rarer for an African artist, but Amadou & Mariam have just managed to do it with the help of Manu Chao, the Because Label, their manager Marc-Antoine Moreau and all those other nameless but priceless team members.

It has to be said that the Malian duo were already well poised for success. With a career stretching back to the seminal and fertile days of Les Ambassadeurs and the Bamako music scene of the 1970s, Amadou Bagayoko is a singer and guitarist of rare quality. A romantic attachment to Mariam Doumbia took root and flourished in the Bamako School for the Blind well before the pair decided to become a musical item and make their first public appearance as such in 1980. Almost a decade of hustle and frustration followed before Amadou and Mariam started savouring some kind of success, thanks to a string of cassettes which they released from their adopted home of Abidjan in Ivory Coast.

Their fame spread from West Africa to Europe, and their first French CD release 'Sou Ni Tile' was a hit in all senses of the word. Amadou and Mariam have this rare ability to take the melodic essence of Malian music, add dashes of funk, reggae and soul to it and by somekind of magical mutation increase its appeal exponentially whilst keeping its soul intact. Manu Chao fell under the duo's spell when he heard one of their tunes on his car stereo whilst careering round the Paris périphérique. He turned out to be the ideal co-star and collaborator, which more accurately describes the role he played in the stunningly successful new release 'Dimache à Bamako ', than mere 'producer'. Amadou and Mariam's success is a boon to the whole African, and indeed, world music scene, giving all of us something to study, cherish even dream about emulating one day.

Ivan Chrysler

Official website
Nonesuch Records site
Hear their performance at WOMAD 2005


Butsy in New Hampshire

I have bought may be 6 cds (in total) but I want to have more of this fantastic duo. I heard them on NPR one evening and could hardly wait to hear more. I play the one cd over and over. I would love to see them perform in the Us.

Zolzaya, NYC
the guitar for M'Bife is inspiring. I love Amadou and Mariam

Jose Meras, Houston, United States
This is music that rises up from the soul. Very gifted musicians.

Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR:Miami Florida
"Coulibaly" is one of my favorite songs interpreted by Amadou and Mariam.

AJ - Newcastle
I saw Amadou and Mariam at the sage gateshead earlier this year with a friend from school and they were really good also went to womad couple months ago and wished they'd gone!!

Kostas London
More please!!

afshin estifa iran
very good !!

Onur Söüt
Mercan Dede is keen to bring his extraordinary music and stagecraft everywhere in the world because he feels its inclusive spirit carries a profound message of understanding and reconciliation. “I don’t like the separation,” says Dede. “The Sufi poet Rumi has a very good saying: ‘If you are everywhere, you are nowhere. If you are somewhere, you are everywhere.’ My somewhere is my heart. I try to figure it out. The rest—the hype, the trends—they are not important. Instead of talking about war in Iraq, if you can make a sound of a small instrument from an Iraqi village, you can tell people more about what is going on there. For me, the future is electronic and folkloric.”

Charlotte Dublin
bravo pour le duo , I love the onstage tender heading rubbing gesture. Welcome again to Dublin in 2006

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