Album review: Amadou & Mariam – La Confusion
PUBLISHED: 11:45 26 September 2017
Grammy-nominated duo’s ninth album is warm, captivating and funky, while addressing the socio-political upheavals of home
Feted husband and wife team Amadou & Mariam have ploughed a successful furrow in the Western sphere for a dozen years now – and 20-plus years prior to that in Africa – and show no sign of letting the quality slip with this ninth studio album.
Civil war means Mali is now a very different place to that which bore 2012’s Folila and its extravagant collaborations with Santigold, TV On The Radio and others.
While a lyrical preoccupation with uncertainty and despair now dominates, it also reveals the couple’s moral compass remains steady and true despite the tumult. But it’s the music that makes a grab for soul and feet – a compelling, fizzing cocktail of funky guitar swirls, Afro percussion, considered electro and vocals mixing the couple’s warm tones with group vocal embraces.
The title track’s propulsive percussion, group singing, gentle synths and deftly-woven guitar solo are hard to resist, as is Diarra’s funky lope, the energetic Yiki Yassa and dark disco opener Boufou Safou – the Malian term for a man who would rather dance than work.