Welcome to Mali - Amadou & Mariam


While listening to Amadou and Mariam's latest understated masterpiece, Welcome to Mali, it’s easy to forget the unwelcoming fact that the country is among the poorest in the world. Its borders are doorsteps to bloody civil wars while its people fight their own battles against disease like malaria and HIV. But, the blind couple celebrates life and love with that indestructible spirit Africans can possess as inspiration to all of us. The album is an unabashed expression of the musical bond that binds Amadou and Mariam, without pretense or posturing. And, if you thought their previous release Dimanche a Bamako thrust them into the international spotlight simply through the golden touch of Manu Chao, think again. Welcome To Mali was produced by their long-time manager Marc-Antoine Moreau and it represents their best and most diverse selection of songs to date. Add magic collaborations with Damon Albarn from Blur, the enigmatic M, Mathieu Chedid, Keziah Jones and most notably, Somalian rapper, K'naan and you have a quintessential contemporary vibe. With most good albums you can go three of four favorites deep, but it is nearly impossible to choose from this selection. By the way, though Amadou and Mariam have lost the gift of sight, someone is certainly presenting them in the best possible light. The packaging of the album with accents of gold is one of the classiest I've ever seen. Welcome to Mali is a treasure and an essential addition to anyone's collection. Key Tracks: All of them! Africa (w/ K'naan), Masiteladi