& Mariam Tjè ni Muso
recent history of music has been written on recycled paper, the quill
dipped into resourcefulness ink. The adventures of the “Bembeya
Jazz”, of the “Ambassadeurs du Motel” or of the Rail
Band of Bamako are enough to fuel with ludicrous
ingredients the episodes of an animist sit com in which the stars would
be dishonest manager, venal marabou and piracy expert.
In such a hazardous situation, the route of Amadou and Mariam is silent
and heroic. The first obstacle on their hard way was to make their parents
accept their union. They met at the institute of young blind people
of Bamako and their union was judged unreasonable because they were
At that time (under military dictatorship), he who wanted to be a musician
and was really talented, was obliged to join orchestras in hotels where,
in exchange of a state employee salary, he played for a clientele composed
by the tops of the government and strangers to animate dance parties
where people were gossiping and dancing Cuban.
Amadou Bagayoko learned to play the guitar in the band “Ambassadeurs
du Motel” of Bamako, a polyvalent band which was later joined
Keita. He improved his playing technique and mixed
the different styles of music which led to the radiant Bamanan blues
they display in their recent productions.
Mariam Doumbia sings by her own, sometimes with Amadou. When they decided
to undertake a career together, the chance of achievement in Mali abounded
so much that they decided to emigrate in Ivory Coast where the success
came as a surprise.
Far away from their three children, they will realise some tapes produced
by the Nigerian Aliyu Maïkano Adamu on which we can find the initial
versions of “Dunia”, “A chacun son problème”,
“Mon amour” and “Ma chérie” accompanied
only with an acoustic guitar. These songs will appear again on the album
“sou ni tile” which was released seven years later and shows
that African music can be universal and accompanied with modern technologies.
“Tjè Ni muso”, man and woman in Bambara (here husband
and wife), add to the large spectre sound nuances, rhythmical inflexions
and different perfumes of the world (Portuguese cavaquihino, Bengali
violin, piano jazz).
Amadou and Mariam have the feeling to listen to their own music through
the pop of the seventies: electrical blues, reggae, salsa…
Without planning it, man and woman bring back home these sounds which
originated from the black continent. This opening to the world gives
energy to West African music and this album illustrates perfectly the
term “world music”.
and Mariam tell us with their own words the superiority of the harmonious
over the discordant; the amusing paradox present in the songs of this
Malian couple of blinds is that they can give back the sight to those
who think that they already see.