Once upon a time there was a magical couple whose destinies were as intertwined as their actions and where their union rendered the impossible possible. His name is Amadou and hers, Mariam.
Both were born in Mali, which was a French colony. Amadou is the son of a soldier, one child in a family of many. Mariam is the daughter of a teacher, one child in a family of many. He was in Douenza, a town in the region of Mopti. She was in Bamako, the capital city. They were 800km apart.
The time came for both of them to go to school in their respective worlds. She was singing in family ceremonies but was having problems with her eyesight and became almost totally blind by the age of six. He was fascinated by the Tam-Tam drums and percussion instruments but was struck by a congenital cataract, sharing the same fate.
Adolescence arrived and she was already famous in the neighborhood, crowds flocking to see her perform at weddings. He arrived in Bamako for an attempt to operate on his eyes, an attempt that would not succeed.
She, guided by her father, followed the road to a special school founded by a blind professor. Here she continued to explore her musical world through song and dance. He, fascinated by the guitar, launched himself into the same world, one that can be such a palliative to those that cannot see. He became a maestro of his chosen instrument, participating in a number of groups including the famous “Ambassadeurs du Motel”.
A few years after the creation of the Institute of the Young Blind of Bamako, he was called upon to be its musical director. And it was there, on a warm and beautiful day, that Amadou heard the voice of Mariam for the first time.
On that day, he and she became one, fusing themselves to form a single entity: a magical couple. Against all the advice of their peers, who thought that such a union would be impossible, they took each other by the hand and have created and shared a remarkable life together for more than 30 years now.
Both passionate about music, Amadou and Mariam then explored life together both on and off the stage. They married the same year that they performed together for the first time as a duo and went on to have three children. They performed a tour of Burkina Faso and moved to the Ivory Coast where they recorded five cassettes that would later serve to inspire their albums.
Having conquered the hearts of the majority of West Africa, the emblematic couple flew to Europe to further the spread of their good word and well wishes.
hey arrived in Paris and supported by a few friends, began their international career. Their success was immediate upon their arrival. Their love for song and songs of love in its purest form directly touched the hearts of the French public. Their debut performance at the Transmusicales of Rennes was a triumph.
The first album produced outside of Africa was “Sou Ni Tile” (“Day and Night”). This album paved the way for them to bring their talent from one town to another throughout both Europe and the United States.
This opus, created in the middle of the summer in a little studio in the Parisian suburbs, marked the birth of a small family. Made up of the couple themselves, a sound engineer and an artistic director, the members of this small group were all motivated by the same dreams: the meetings of minds and cultures, the fusion of musical genres. They strove together to give the project the wings it deserved and to create the adventure that they would all share.
Sou Ni Tile served the magic couple by introducing them to a multitude of artists from the four corners of the earth. The little studio in Montreuil, bitterly cold in the winter and stifling in the summer, became the melting pot of musical collaboration, a place for Amadou and Mariam to explore further and create their warm, dry, and rhythmic charged sound. Indian violinist met with Colombian trombonist; the Egyptian ney met the French hurdy-gurdy.
After a short period, a new album was release, titled “Tje Ni Mousso” (“Man and Woman”) and this is the first recording of the group with whom they currently tour. With this, their international career takes off further and they are invited to a number of festivals and countries including The International Festival of Louisiana in the US, Germany and the Eurokéenes in France.
The next album to be released was “Wati” (“Time”) and involved the collaboration of not only their compatriot Cheick Tidiana Seck, but also Jean-Phillippe Rykiel and Mathieu Chedid. It was mixed in the famous studios of Peter Gabriel, Real World, in Wiltshire in England.
That same year they featured in concerts in Los Angeles, the Festival de Montreux in Switzerland, and the festival Rock in Rio in Brazil before finishing with a triumphant tour in Mali.
The Magic Couple (Wrasse Records) collects the more memorable moments and music of this pivotal period for the magic couple. It is the best of three unmissable albums of Amadou & Mariam.
Buy the CD or MP3:
14/08/2009 : BUDAPEST- Zsiget
15/08/2009 : GOTEBORG- Way out west
01/09/2009 : PARIS- Jazz à la Villette
06/09/2009 : MALMEDY- Afro Diziak Festival
10/09/2009 : Switzerland – Festival du chant du Gros
13/09/2009 : GUYANCOURT- Plein Air
18/09/2009 : ATHENS- Papagou Theater
23/09/2009 : BRISTOL- Colston Hall
26/09/2009 : LE HAVRE- Plein air gratuit
02/10/2009 : LOS ANGELES- Henri Fonda Theater
04/10/2009 : SAN FRANCISCO- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass fest
21/10/2009 : NANTERRE- Maison de la musique
23/10/2009 : LENS- Théatre
10/11/2009 : CREIL- La Faiencerie
11/11/2009 : LES ULIS- Espace Boris Vian
12/11/2009 : GAP- Le Cube
13/11/2009 : NICE- Theatre Lino Ventura
17/11/2009 : TOURS- Atrium
18/11/2009 : AVIGNON- Salle Montfavet
19/11/2009 : THONEX-
21/11/2009 : Vienna- Konzerthaus
03/12/2009 : London- HMV Forum