Some artists are so consistently outstanding that just the knowledge that they’re planning to put out a new album is enough to sustain you through years that are otherwise pretty significant dumpster fires. This is one of those years, and Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are two of those artists. As husband-and-wife duo Amadou & Mariam, they never fail to disappoint, and new album La Confusion sees the two step up their game once again with a blend of pan-African pop that will bring even the most jaded denizen of the 21st century back to life with their dancing shoes tied..
La Confusion feels like the natural successor to the couple’s genre-defying work on 2012's Folila, a record on which their Malian heritage was given a distinctly western bent. Once again, there's a mix of exciting collaborations and strong western influences here, giving the feeling that the last five years have been a mere pause for breath before the music triumphantly returns. Only this time, it's us who must bend to the mastery of the couple's rich traditions.
Every track here demonstrates the integrity and intelligence of Amadou & Mariam’s music making, honed over more than 40 years of living, loving and playing together.
Once student and teacher at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind and now grandparents celebrating 37 years together, Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko are the original Awesome Tapes From Africa. The blind Malian couple began releasing cassettes in the late 1980s and have since become iconic international African stars who count Damon Albarn, David Gilmour, and TV on the Radio as fans and collaborators. Despite charges that Western influence has infiltrated and diluted their sound, they have become an African power couple, two of the continent’s most prominent cultural exports..
It’s 12 years now since Amadou and Mariam suddenly became celebrities, thanks largely to Manu Chao’s production work on the bestselling Dimanche à Bamako. The blind Malians went on to play at rock festivals and perform for Barack Obama, but have never quite matched the freshness and exuberance of that masterful album. Now comes their first full set of new songs in five years, dominated by the input of French producer Adrien Durand.