Amadou & Mariam, the blind couple from Mali, have certainly paid their dues over the last 30 years, and it's about time they received their big break. Certainly given the excellent reviews in Europe, Dimanche a Bamako could be it, thanks to the production and participation by the elf prince of world music, Manu Chao. He brings a playful lightness ...Read MoreAmadou & Mariam, the blind couple from Mali, have certainly paid their dues over the last 30 years, and it's about time they received their big break. Certainly given the excellent reviews in Europe, Dimanche a Bamako could be it, thanks to the production and participation by the elf prince of world music, Manu Chao. He brings a playful lightness to their soulful, bluesy Malian sound, letting in plenty of sunshine, and drawing in a sense of place through the ambience of traffic sounds and snippets of conversation. Chao is also obviously present on several tracks, such as "Senegal Fast Food," which offers a bouncy, reggae-styled rhythm so typical of Chao's own records. But even when not so obviously asserting himself, his presence is felt in the space he creates, and the use he makes of Mariam's admittedly limited voice (she's good, but no one will ever mistake her for one of the word's greatest singers), as on "Beau Dimanche," for example. Lyrically, this is very much an album of love songs, postcards between the couple, but it never veers into maudlin sentiment. Yet there's also a political edge to it, such as with "La Realite." Even if you don't understand the words, however, the entire disc is an absolute aural joy, poppy enough to be exquisitely memorable, yet with layers of resonance underneath. Likely to be one of the world music albums of 2005, it can hopefully find the kind of wide audience it surely deserves. ~ Chris Nickson, RoviRead Less
Husband and wife Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia did it again, this time with the help of Manu Chao. Those already enamored with the King and Queen of Malian pop will easily recognize Mr. Chao's pen, such as on Camions Sauvages and Politic Amagni, but the more stellar tunes?Artistiya, Coulibaly, La Réalité, and La Fête au Village?belong to them. Neither pure rock or pure Malian music they are somewhere in between and much more. Their production, musicianship, songwriting, and confluence of musical textures from here there and everywhere never fail in producing great tunes, and as always Amadou demonstrates his capacity for a mean guitar lick. If you are new to Amadou et Mariam?s music, start here and follow up with ?Sou Ni Tile? and ?Tje Ni Mousso?, and so on. Highly recommended!