Amadou and Miriam have continued their illustrious career with Folila, another stellar addition to their already large discography.
The blind husband and wife duo from Mali, who have become world famous for their blending of traditional Malian music with different genres including blues, country and hip-hop released their 11th studio album earlier this year to critical acclaim. They have been touring worldwide since 1986, when they met Stevie Wonder, and since have shared the stage with bands and musicians like U2, Alicia Keys, and Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour.
Amadou and Miriam switch smoothly between English, French and Malian in almost all of their songs in Folila, giving the album a distinct culturally-blended feel.
The album starts with a deeply rhythmic song, “Wily Kataso,” with hauntingly ethereal violin cords and vocals, followed by an upbeat dance song with glowing female vocals sounding heavily Caribbean-influenced.
The album then changes direction again going into a bluesy, bluegrass-sounding song, with what sounds like banjos, but is just Amadou playing the guitar.The next song has a happier feel with a bumping drum line which would be good for dancing.
The fifth song is distinctly funky before the album returns to a Caribbean-style song with steel drums making up the bass line. This is followed by a sad blues-style song, “Wari,” with English lyrics and Malian back-up vocals. Next is a song featuring French vocals with an East African melody.
“Nebe Miri,” featuring Theophilus London, has a distinctly hip-hop feel, even featuring a few bars of rap. The album finishes with the sweet and calming “Cherie,” providing a calming exit to an all encompassing album spanning generations and cultures.
In a music industry that values sampled music and mash ups, Folila is a stand out album because Amadou and Miriam fuse together different cultures, languages, and sounds into an entirely new genre.