Welcome to Mali

Amadou et Mariam

2008: Because BEC5772410

  1. Sabali
  2. Ce n’est pas bon
  3. Magossa
  4. Djama
  5. Djuru
  6. Je te kiffe
  7. Masiteladi
  8. Africa
  9. Compagnon de la vie
  10. Unissons-nous
  11. Bozos
  12. I Follow You (nia na fin)
  13. Welcome to Mali
  14. Batoma
  15. Sebeke [misspelled as “Sekebe” on the packaging]
    Boula [ghost track]

“Compagnon de la vie” is probably my favorite track on this strong but uneven album, with the wild “Sebeke” a very close second (it is impossible to not dance when that track is playing!). “Batoma” has a damn fine groove to it, too, but the vocals can be a little off-putting if you’re not accustomed to the broader, looser sound of African singing. “Je te kiffe” was, I think, the track I first heard from this album and which drew me in to—either that or “Ce n’est pas bon;” in either case it was on a streaming internet radio station broadcasting from the Balkans, as I recall, in 2009.

At the other end of the spectrum is “Sabali,” which apparently was quite the hit in Europe but which I can’t stand because Mariam’s upper-register singing is downright jarring.

I can’t always follow their French, accented as it is, but generally I get the gist, and there’s a little English sprinkled in here and there, plus Spanish if I’m not mishearing things. Which African language is primarily sung, however, I couldn’t say.