Amadou & Mariam Welcome To Mali on 2LP + CD Set!
Blind Duo's Joyous Set Spans Genres, Continents!
Ranked by Countless Critics as one of 2009's Best Albums!
Welcome to Mali, the second Nonesuch effort from Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, has garnered rapturous reviews from critics in Europe, where it was released in late 2008, as well in America, where it's included on many Top 10 lists from 2009. London’s Sunday Mirror declared, “African pop doesn’t get more effervescent and joyful than the sound of this blind couple dueling together and sending their message of love around the globe. Simply wonderful.”
American audiences were introduced to the married pair, who met at a Malian school for the blind, with its Nonesuch debut Dimanche à Bamako, produced by the Paris-based world-music provocateur Manu Chao. With Chao behind the wheel, the album was like an exhilaratingly bumpy taxi ride straight into the heart of the Malian capital; cacophonous sounds of the streets mixed in with the spare, propulsive rhythms of the songs, making it all sound thrillingly immediate. Amadou & Mariam, already into the second decade of their overseas career, attracted an impressively wide-ranging state side audience, from world music stalwarts to clubgoers to indie rockers.
Welcome to Mali, recorded in Bamako, Dakar, Paris, and London and produced with longtime manager Marc-Antoine Moreau, is less high-concept travelogue than straightforward set, yet it proves to be even more adventurous and exuberantly rocking. Damon Albarn briefly joins the pair, co-producing and co-writing the opening track “Sabali,” as ingeniously arranged as the best of his work with the Gorillaz and featuring Mariam’s almost otherworldly vocals over swirls of disco-style keyboards. Amadou has long spoken of his affection for classic rock and it shows in his playing; London’s Independent calls Welcome to Mali “a rock album with an African Heart.”
There’s a bit of Yardbirds-era swinging London, keyboard arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place in a Parisian disco, hip hop breaks from Toronto-based Somalian rapper K’naan and the occasional garage-rock riff, as well as traditional touches courtesy of fellow Malian Toumani Diabaté and his magical kora playing. A deep undercurrent of the blues, an arguably indigenous Malian sound that migrated to the Mississippi delta, runs through the disc. Says Uncut, “Amadou’s slithering, grinding guitar riffs sound dark and spiky, the missing link between Ali Farka Touré and Steve Cropper.”
This equisitely packaged vinyl edition sounds great and features a Stougton paper-wrapped 2-disc gatefold jacket plus the standard CD in a 4/C baby jacket.
Amadou & Miriam Welcome To Mali Track Listing:
1. Sabali (prod. Damon Albarn)
2. Ce N’est Pas Bon (w/ Damon Albarn)
6. Je Te Kiffe (feat. Juan Rozoff)
7. Masiteladi (feat. M)
8. Africa (feat. K’naan)
9. Compagnon de la Vie
10. Unissons Nous (feat. Keziah Jones)
12. I Follow You (Nia Na Fin)
13. Welcome to Mali