Amadou & Mariam

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:

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