Amadou and Mariam, the amazing blind couple from Mali, love to experiment. Some call their music "without a place in this world". But they successfully continue to mix Mali's traditional music with rock and electro, Egyptian and Indian sounds or Cuban and Middle Eastern instruments. The result is unique "Afro Blues" by a very sweet couple!
Mariam and Amadou were born in Bamako, Mali. They grew up as normal children with an unusual love for music. But at the age of 5, Mariam lost her sight, and so did Amadou, when he was a teenager.
They both enrolled at Bamako's Institute for the Young Blind. This is where they met, discovered each other's interest in music and soon fell in love. A year later, they got married. Amadou was soon appointed director of the Institute's musical department, while Mariam excelled as the lead singer of its orchestra. From then on, life was all uphill for them:
There was a demand for their live performances on a national level. This prompted them to move to the Ivory Coast, where they met the Nigerian producer Maikano. He helped the talented couple in the production of their first two records, simply tagged as "Volume 1 and 2".
Much has happened since then, like the collaboration with great artists like Manu Chao. But let's fast forward to 2008, when they recorded “Welcome to Mali”. This was followed by “The Magic Couple” in 2009. Both CDs have done very well not only in Africa, but in the international market.
Their acceptance in the global scene is no surprise at all. These talented artists are forever trying to outdo their previous success. Just listen to their latest albums. Each track is different and unique: one cool as a breezy summer day, the next rowdy like a fiesta night!
In Africa, blind people are often condemned to a lifetime of begging in the streets. But from a young age, Amadou and Mariam were determined and confident to make it through music - and so they did. Their hard work and success encourages many disabled people in Mali and the whole continent.
And we Westerners? We enjoy their albums and live performances, as their presence pushes you to embrace life in all its fullness.
What do you think about the couple?