I was lucky enough to visit my sister when she was in the Peace Corps in Mauritania some years back, and we also visited Mali, Senegal and Gambia briefly. The experience affected me in many positive ways, including turning me on to West African music.
Never appreciated West African music before? That may be about to change. Want to see some fascinating scenes of Senegalese street life, and hear some entrancing music by the famous blind Bambaran couple Amadou & Mariam, with Manu Chao chiming in? Sure you do!
If you’re not convinced yet, let Matt Yanchyshyn describe them for you:
Amadou and Mariam are all about their love story that began at the Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako, Mali. Translated from the French and Bamako most of their songs go something like this:
“I love you!” – Amadou. “No, I love you.” – Mariam. “No, I love you more.” – Amadou. “You kidding? I fucking love you more.” – Mariam.
They chant variations of this theme over Malian blues-rock guitar and driving beats, coming up with some kicking music. Who knew two blind Malian middle-aged lovers could rock it so well.
Watch below the fold… and then you can view more video at their site.
Also, if you have thoughts about the story of the song and the video, please share. I think I get the general drift, but I don’t know much French beyond the “Comment ça va?” “ça va” greeting everyone exchanges in West Africa.
Senegal Fast Food
p.s. You can buy downloads of their music at Calabash.