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Amadou and Mariam: With the Eyes of Music!

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Amadou and Mariam is the name of a musical duo composed by two blind persons: Mariam Dumbia (vocalist), who was born in Bamako, Mali in 1958, and Amadou Bagayoko (vocalist and guitarist), who was born in 1954 in the capital of Mali also. “The blind couple of Mali”, as they are usually called, met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind. There, they had the possibility to share the interest in music. Today, the duo mixes traditional Mali rhythms and sounds with Dogon percussion, Indian tablas, Colombian trombones, Egyptian ney (a kind of end-blown flute), Cuban trumpets, Syrian violins and rock guitars in a musical style that has been named “Afro-Blues.”

Since their early years, both started enhancing their musical and vocal skills. Mariam began very young singing the songs she heard so that when she was 6, she sang at baptisms and weddings. On the other hand, Amadou performed with different groups since 1968. He played with Les Ambassadeurs from 1974 to 1980. Some time after that, he enrolled at Institute for the Young Blind where he met Mariam. At the Institute, they were both outstanding members of the Institute Musical Group and the Institute Orchestra. Some time after they got married, Amadou and Mariam began to play together. During the mid-80s they were recognized due to the Malian Blues they played.

In 1985, they started a tour by Burkina Faso. A year later, they moved to Cote d’Ivoire and began recording cassette albums. The album that opened the doors for them in Euopre was Sou Ni Tle which became a hit highly praised at festivals worldwide. Amadou and Mariam’s discography includes the albums Se Te Djon Ye (1999), Sou Ni Tile (1999), Tjé Ni Mousso (2000), Wati (2003), Dimanche à Bamako (2005) and Je pense à toi (2005).

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