Amadou & Mariam – ‘Folila’

It’s their songwriting that brought them this far

Amadou and Mariam originally planned ‘Folila’ as two albums: a crossover effort with their friends in New York, and a rootsier one recorded at home in Bamako, with African guests. By combining the two, ‘the blind couple of Mali’ give a much better idea of their extraordinary reach. Santigold is a natural match for the rapid patter of ‘Dougou Badia’, while TV On The Radio sound uncharacteristically laid-back in the Latin rhythms of ‘Wily Kataso’. An unlikely highlight comes in ‘Sans Toi’, an unassuming love song which proves that, stripped of special guests, it’s their songwriting that brought Amadou and Mariam this far.

Hazel Sheffield