Tuesday, June 16th
815 V St. NW
Welcome to the world of Amadou & Mariam, a sphere that now stretches from the dusty streets of Bamako to playing the mainstage at Glastonbury, and from the timeless traditions of Mali to playing the official FIFA World Cup Opening Concert in Johannesburg last summer.
Over the last few years big-selling albums such as ''Welcome to Mali'' and ''Dimanche à Bamako'' have taken Amadou and Mariam on an epic journey that has made the couple the best-selling - and best-loved - act to come out of Africa this century.
Along the way they have performed with the likes of Damon Albarn, Manu Chao and the Scissor Sisters and have been enthusiastically embraced by Western rock fans. One minute they’re touring the US with Coldplay and the next minute, Pink Floyd guitar legend David Gilmour is sitting in with them on stage in London for Crisis. In 2009 they played the Nobel Peace Prize concert in honour of Barack Obama, and they recently suported U2 on tour in South Africa.Their biography “Away From The Light of Day” has been published in English in the UK and will soon be published in the US.
All this has been achieved while remaining true to their roots and without compromising their authenticity. Their unique mix of unforgettable pop melodies and contagious rhythms, driven by Amadou's bluesy electric guitar and the compelling interplay of their two voices may have its roots deeply planted in Africa. Yet this is music for the world, rather than 'world music'. Music that effortlessly transcends classification or genre and vaults the fickle dictates of fad and fashion. Music that remains as popular across Africa as it has now become in Europe and America.
It's easy to understand why some have dubbed Amadou & Mariam 'the magic couple'. Yet in truth their achievements are down to a combination of craft and graft rather than supernatural charms. All great musicians work hard to achieve their success. But when you're an African act and don’t sing in English, you have to work harder than most - and Amadou & Maram have toured tirelessly to take their music to audiences around the globe for whom African music was previously uncharted territory.