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4.7 out of 5 stars
29
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2017
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on 23 May 2012
If you enjoy African music with va va voom then this comes highly recommended. Full of hard vibrant chords, French lyrics and excellent duo vocals, this album could become a seminal piece for African fusion aficionados. Love it!
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Like Salif Keita, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are from Mali: the origin of the very best, most exquisite, innovative, effortlessly complex and original music from the African continent - if not the whole world - over the past 20 years. It's a mystery why, but all the very best music seems to be from Mali.

Amadou and Mariam are blind. They're also married to each other, and have been composing and performing together since around 1980. This though is their most electrifying, original, joyful, danceable-in-the-street, clever, richly textured and simply best album by far, and the reason is almost certainly the involvement of Manu Chao who not only produced the whole glorious celebration but composed and performed on several of the tracks as well.

Sung mainly in French with that delightful West African dialect - but also with a couple of English language numbers - "Dimanche a Bamako" (Sunday in Bamako - the title track of the album) is a joy from start to finish, full of surprises, different rhythms, interesting arrangements and eclectic choice of instrumentation. It romps along at a fair old pace and, even if you have no idea what they're singing about, you'll instantly love it. Every track is different and yet the whole is even more than the sum of its beautiful and exquisite parts: musical excellence, a delight to be savoured again and again.

If you like African music, especially music from Mali, and you never heard this album then you should buy it right now. If "world music" has never appealed and you're put off by lyrics sung in languages other than English, this could be a breakthrough and a revelation. Give it a listen, and open up a new world of joyous West African delight.
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on 25 June 2005
The blind couple from Mali had at least 2 double-page spread features about them in British newspapers in the last 10 days of May as a run-up to the UK release of the CD. Previously only having a few of their songs on compilation albums, I was eager to find out why there is so much buzz concerning Dimanche à Bamako. Produced with Manu Chao who also performs on the recording (not somebody I'd normally listen to), featuring a number of guest musicians as well as the voice of the couple's son Mamadou, I was uncertain as to how or if it would grab me but it sure has! The appeal lies in the range of the soft 'La Fête au Village' to the reggae beats in 'La Réalité' and the more electronic dance grooves of 'Coulibaly' but all firmly grounded in Mali. The lyrics give food for thought with elements of fun too. My only slight complaint is that the tracks are fairly short and I guess their live performance will give an opportunity for extended grooves. So while we're currently hearing loud 'No' votes from various other quarters, for this album there's going to be a resounding 'Yes'!
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on 13 December 2008
I cannot really describe myself as a World Music fan - lack of time principally: there is a 'world of music out there after all. And, I admit it: I thought I was on to a winner here given Manu Chao's involvement.
Just occasionally, you know a record's going to knock you dead ten seconds into track 1. This is one of those records.
Yes, Manu Chao's influnce is evident throughout but the stars of the show are Amadou and Mariam. From start to finish, across a wide variety of textures, colour and tempo the sheer vibrance and exhuberance never lets up. Mariam in particular, has a voice to die for. On the final track,(M' Bifé Blues') her repetition of the central motif, 'Je t'aime jusqu'à la mort' - dignified, unsentimental, matter of fact yet loaded with emotion sticks a lump in the listener's throat, the size of a Granny Smith.
I'm off now to order some more stuff by this magnificent duo.
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Like Salif Keita, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are from Mali: the origin of the very best, most exquisite, innovative, effortlessly complex and original music from the African continent - if not the whole world - over the past 20 years. It's a mystery why, but all the very best music seems to be from Mali.

Like the late Ray Charles, Amadou and Mariam are blind. They're also married to each other, and have been composing and performing together since around 1980. This though is their most electrifying, original, joyful, danceable-in-the-street, clever, richly textured and simply best album by far, and the reason is almost certainly the involvement of Manu Chao who not only produced the whole glorious celebration but composed and performed on several of the tracks as well.

Sung mainly in French with that delightful West African dialect - but also with a couple of English language numbers - "Dimanche a Bamako" (Sunday in Bamako - the title track of the album) is a joy from start to finish, full of surprises, different rhythms, interesting arrangements and eclectic choice of instrumentation. It romps along at a fair old pace and, even if you have no idea what they're singing about, you'll instantly love it. Every track is different and yet the whole is even more than the sum of its beautiful and exquisite parts: musical excellence, a delight to be savoured again and again.

If you like African music, especially music from Mali, and you never heard this album then you should buy it right now. If "world music" has never appealed and you're put off by lyrics sung in languages other than English, this could be a breakthrough and a revelation. Give it a listen, and open up a new world of joyous West African delight.
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on 9 December 2008
This CD is so very enjoyable. I own some other music from Mali - Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate -, but I had never heard Amadou and Mariam, which is I guess more "poppy". I bought it on the basis of the reviews here, and I am so very glad I did. It's one of those CDs that make you happy the moment you start playing. I am not a massive fan of Manu Chao, but his contributions actually fit in pretty well here, I find. I can't really imagine someone not liking any of the songs on this one... I tihnk my favourite track is the instrumental M'Bife Balafon, it's addictive and I play it on loop.
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on 22 December 2005
As a keen world music fan I come across many fantastic albums from across the world but this is a must for 2005, Malian blues at its best, this blind couple are the business and to top it off to see them at Womad this year was brilliant, if you only buy 1 world music album this year make it this one.
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on 27 January 2015
Lame.
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2005
Lets be honest here. A lot of people are going to buy this for the Manu Chao connection, and listening to it I feel they will not be disappointed. Most of the album has the same feel as Cladestino or Proxima Estacion Esperanza: there are the trademark laid-back but insistent looping acoustic riffs underpinning most of the tracks.
However, that is not to say that this is a bad thing. I am sure Amadou and Mariam are greatful for the extra publicity and sales this will generate for this, and hopefully some new listeners will head for their back catalogue as a result. They both have fine voices, which complement the gentle instrumentation perfectly.
Some songs are more Amadou and Mariam, while others are more Manu Chao - particularly Taxi Bamako where he sings too - but they are all soothing and infectious.
I am sure there are people who will see this album as a cultural compromise, but I prefer to look on it as a fusion, and a collection of beautiful songs in its own right, and its still on heavy rotation on my iRiver.
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