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Amadou & Mariam

African

Amadou & Mariam

Amadou & Mariam
A favorite of
Darren Farnsworth

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African
Updated Dec 2019

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born 24 October 1954) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born 15 April 1958).

Their…

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born 24 October 1954) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born 15 April 1958).

Their album Welcome To Mali (2008) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Background
Amadou lost his vision at the age of 16, while Mariam became blind at age 5 as a consequence of untreated measles. Known as "the blind couple from Mali", they met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, where they both performed at the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra, directed by Idrissa Soumaouro, and found they shared an interest in music. Between 1974 and 1980, Amadou played guitar in the West African band Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako.

In 1980 the couple married and by 1983 they began to play together while Amadou continued a successful solo career and ran the blind institute's music programme.

Amadou is a fan of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Style
The duo's early recordings in the 1980s and 1990s featured sparse arrangements of guitar and voice. Since the late 1990s Amadou & Mariam have produced music that mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. In combination these elements have been called "Afro-blues".

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