Amadou and Mariam: Tiny Desk Concert The Malian musicians, who've been playing together for nearly 40 years, bring some of the most lyrical melodies and joyful sounds we've ever had at the Tiny Desk.

Tiny Desk

Amadou and Mariam

The title and subject of Amadou & Mariam's latest album, La Confusion, would lead you to believe that the music this married, Malian couple make might be sad and troubled. But Amadou & Mariam, on the contrary, bring some of the most lyrical melodies and joyful sounds we've ever had at the Tiny Desk, and their performance comes while their country endures great turmoil, including a coup and insurgencies.

As Amadou and Mariam said when their album was released, "We seek to make people happy with our music, help humanitarian causes and share positive messages about the good work being done by people in every corner of the world."

The story of Amadou and Mariam is still worth telling almost 40-years (and eight albums) into their career because it speaks well to who they are, the obstacles they've had to overcome and the positive yet realistic attitude that has made them such an international success. Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia met when they were children in Mali's Institute for the Young Blind. Both had lost their sight when they were young and they began performing together. Later, in the 1980s, they married and began a career together.

On this occasion, they stripped down their bigger band to a keyboard, a percussionist and a backup singer while the couple holds it all together with Amadou's stuttered melodic guitar and Mariam's sweetly gruff voice. It's an inspired performance to hear and to witness.

Set List

  • "Bofou Safou"
  • "Dimanche à Bamako"
  • "Filaou Bessame"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, James Willetts; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Tsering Bista, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Nubya Garcia plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Nubya Garcia (Home) Concert

One of the British jazz scene's rising stars performs a quarantine concert on the River Thames.

Arlo Parks plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Arlo Parks (Home) Concert

Watch the young London pop artist perform four songs for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Declan McKenna plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Declan McKenna (Home) Concert

The 21-year-old McKenna performs a four-song quarantine concert with a full band.

Phoebe Bridgers plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Phoebe Bridgers (Home) Concert

Phoebe Bridgers performs her Tiny Desk quarantine concert in a virtual Oval Office, with help of dozens of fans.

Bill Callahan plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Bill Callahan (Home) Concert

Bill Callahan has a deep pocket of stories to tell. Standing outside his home, he performs a few of them with guitarist Matt Kinsey and trumpet player Derek Phelps.

Protoje plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Protoje (Home) Concert

The reggae star performs a four-song set from the hills outside Kingston.

Burt Bacharach & Daniel Tashian plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Burt Bacharach & Daniel Tashian (Home) Concert

Burt Bacharach, one of pop's historic melody makers, is still performing at age 92, as you'll see in this Tiny Desk quarantine concert with lyricist Daniel Tashian.

Anat Cohen and Marcello Gonçalves play a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Anat Cohen And Marcello Gonçalves (Home) Concert

The Israeli clarinetist and Brazilian guitarist recorded this Tiny Desk quarantine performance in Rio de Janeiro.

Tiwa Savage plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiwa Savage (Home) Concert

To mark the release of her newest album, Tiwa Savage and her band, The Alternative Sound, returned to Lagos for a lovely set in a beautiful setting.

Back To Top