Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Amadou & Mariam with The Blind Boys of Alabama - Bamako To Birmingham

A collaboration out of the ordinary. An unusual but no less fruitful fusion. We know Amadou + Mariam as something of musical ambassadors for Mali and also among the most joyful acts you can experience live. Amadou Bagayoko lost his vision in his teens and Mariam Doumbia became blind as a child. The couple married in 1980 and started playing music together three years later. The music they make are very inclusive and embraces styles from all over the world, yet it never fail to expose Mali-blues for the world. In 2007 Amadou + Mariam were part of Damon Albarn’s project and tour Africa Express. On recordings the duo has worked together with Albarn, Manu Chao, Santigold and TV On The Radio, to name just a few.

If you think THE ROLLING STONES have been around for a while, they’re rookies compared to THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA. This year the gospel ensemble celebrate their 80th anniversary. The current line-up hasn’t been part of the whole journey from then to now, but member Jimmy Carter joined in 1944 (founder Clarence Fountain held on until 2018, when he died of complications from diabetes). The group is living American music history, and so much more. In the sixties they sang at rallies for the civil rights movement, they have performed at the White House, influenced several generations of r’n’b/soul singers and collaborated with everyone from Bon Iver and Prince to Mavis Staples and Lou Reed. At Way Out West they did perform in the company of Amadou + Mariam. And it was like nothing else.

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born 24 October 1954) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born 15 April 1958).

The Blind Boys of Alabama (or simply Blind Boys of Alabama) is an American five-time Grammy Award-winning gospel group who first sang together in 1939. The Blind Boys have toured for eight decades and created an extensive discography. In 2016 the on-stage configuration of the group consisted of eight people: four blind singers—Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric "Ricky" McKinnie, Paul Beasley – guitarist and musical director Joey Williams, and a keyboardist, a bass guitarist, and a drummer.

The Blind Boys of Alabama sing mainly spiritually uplifting songs, as well as giving encouragement to those with disabilities. Blind group member Ricky McKinnie said "Our disability doesn't have to be a handicap. It's not about what you can't do. It's about what you do. And what we do is sing good gospel music."

Today's tune "Bamako To Birmingham" is a colloboration between the acts.

A clip from Way Out West, enjoy!

More info @

Official Amadou & Mariam Web

Listen to ”Amadou & Mariam - Bamako to Birmingham" on Spotify!

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