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

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