Posts Tagged ‘mali’
The Cooper Square Hotel, New York City, June 5, 2011.
Mariam kept asking the audience, in between songs, “Are you all right?”
“Yes!!” we replied.
She would hold on to Amadou’s tunic, sometimes caress his head or back, both of them swaying in time to the music. It was a cloudy and cool day, and their ornately woven outfits (her in a dress of pinks, purples, and greens that melted together, him in an elegant long shirt and pants) were well suited for the half-uncovered penthouse roof where they were playing. He broke it down on his guitar and she smiled underneath her sunglasses. At the end, when they rocked out with classics like “La triste réalité,” I thought, for the millionth time, when am I going to Mali?
The remix of “La triste réalité” with Jacky and Mokobe:
I have raved about Amadou et Mariam, when they collaborated with Manu Chao on the fantastic album Dimanche à Bamako. From their latest album, Welcome to Mali, is the delightful song “Masiteladi,” and the equally delightful animated music video.
The “Blind Couple from Mali” does it again …
I’ve always associated Mali with the great blues musicians, like Ali Farka Toure, and with incredible male Afro-pop singers like Salif Keita. But recently I happened upon Oumou Sangaré, the woman songbird from Mali with the stunning, soothing voice. Check out “Seya” above.
In one corner of the ring: the late Ali Farka Toure, genius Malian musician and likely the most influential performer of African “blues.” When he picked up his guitar, Toure was often compared to Johnny Lee Hooker, but his style was much more complicated and textured than that reference.
In the other corner: Los Angeles native Ry Cooder, an American guitarist and producer who dabbled in genres from gospel and calypso to country and traditional Cuban.
Put the two together, and the result was intense. Sensual, lyrical, simply gorgeous. Their 1994 Grammy-winning collaboration, “Talkin’ Timbuktu,” deserves a spot on best records lists.
Take a look at the earlier post on Amadou & Mariam: West African musical influences are everywhere in our beloved Union.
Below, “Ai Du,” with both Toure and Cooder on the guitar: