Musicians Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia on their new album, ‘Eclipse’ : NPR


NPR’s Scott Simon talks with musicians Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia about their love story and their new album, “Eclipse.”



(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BEAUX DIMANCHES”)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Amadou & Mariam are beloved throughout the globe, ambassadors for West African music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BEAUX DIMANCHES”)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

SIMON: Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are married. They’re from Mali, and so they each misplaced their imaginative and prescient as kids. They sing in French and Bambara on their newest album, “Eclipse,” and inform a deeply private story about their experiences with blindness and their rise to world fame. Amadou & Mariam be part of us in our studios.

Thanks a lot for being with us.

AMADOU BAGAYOKO: Thanks.

MARIAM DOUMBIA: Merci. Thanks.

BAGAYOKO: Merci.

SIMON: Your latest document, “Eclipse,” is taken from recordings from a efficiency you probably did 10 years in the past at 2012 Manchester Worldwide Pageant. You probably did the present in whole darkness. Why?

DOUMBIA: (Via translator) Even if you cannot see, you’ll be able to perceive what you are listening to. Music is – how can I describe it?

BAGAYOKO: (Via interpreter) We wished to place individuals who can see into the world of those that cannot. You may recognize music even with out imaginative and prescient. You may lean into your creativeness. There’s truly loads you’ll be able to study by listening to music with out attempting to see.

SIMON: One of many songs you carried out was a model of maybe your most well-known tune “Sabali.” I’ll shut my eyes, perhaps another individuals sitting at their kitchen tables or of their bedrooms may need to additionally as we pay attention.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DOUMBIA: (Singing in Bambara).

BAGAYOKO: (Via interpreter) On this tune, “Sabali,” we touched on matters of affection. This tune has a lot of instrumentals, so even when you do not perceive all of the phrases, you will get shut. You understand, we’re speaking about love. I believe it is in all probability greatest to hearken to this tune at midnight.

DOUMBIA: (Via interpreter) Sure, that is true. Music is borderless. You may pay attention even when you do not perceive the lyrics. In that tune, “Sabali,” we sing about love, we sing about endurance. Once you’re affected person, there’s a lot you’ll be able to obtain.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DOUMBIA: (Talking French). I like you. Kiss me.

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

SIMON: How did the 2 of you start to make music collectively?

DOUMBIA: (Via interpreter) We met at Mali’s Institute for the Younger Blind. I used to be a scholar there. I went to study Braille. After I received there, they acknowledged that I had a ravishing voice, in order that they requested me to show different college students easy methods to sing and dance. When Amadou arrived on the institute, we created an orchestra collectively.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

BAGAYOKO: (Via interpreter) I am going to add that I used to be in plenty of orchestras earlier than going to the institute. I used to be already a musician. I began enjoying music once I was 2 years outdated. I performed percussion, what we name in Mali djembe. After I was 10, I performed the harmonica and the flute. After that, I began to sing and play the guitar. The whole lot went from there.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

DOUMBIA: (Via interpreter) I began singing once I was 6 years outdated. I sang at weddings and baptisms. Individuals requested me to sing at these occasions. They’d give me presents. I listened to the radio loads to the singers in Mali on the time. I imitated them. I cherished music. I used to be all the time subsequent to my father’s radio. That is the way it began. I see music as a present.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in French).

BAGAYOKO: (Via interpreter) We fell in love by way of music. We each wished to make music. She has a ravishing voice. And I used to be already a musician. Other than that, once we sang songs collectively, the viewers would say, wow, that is a handsome couple. So not solely did we love one another, however our audiences inspired us much more.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ISAACH DE BANKOLE: There’s an outdated saying in Mali – marriage is a rope that two individuals had been on their necks to unite in opposition to the depravity of life.

SIMON: “Eclipse” options what quantities to clips out of your private tales. Let’s play one thing. It is narration from the English model of Eclipse.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DE BANKOLE: Amadou and Mariam are prepared for marriage. Everyone seems to be mobilized that Sunday in Bamako for the grand celebration of their union. And consider me once I say that there was no lack of liveliness at that occasion. Some even got here from the depths of Mali to witness it. Amadou and Mariam grow to be the primary younger blind couple of Mali, and this title will comply with them for years.

SIMON: Is there one thing that you simply hope individuals who hear this album can study that is disclosed in these songs and in your private story?

BAGAYOKO: (Via interpreter) We launched the album “Eclipse” so that folks might actually perceive our story, our journey, how we received began, how we turned well-known. We now have to place this message on the market so individuals perceive that you could begin out small and grow to be enormous so long as you preserve hope and bravado.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMADOU & MARIAM SONG, “DEMISSENOU”)

SIMON: Let me ask you about one other tune on this album, “Demissenou.” And within the narration, you say that is a couple of baby going through what you name the injustice of future.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in Bambara).

SIMON: Mariam, you wrote this tune. What did you need to convey?

DOUMBIA: (Via interpreter) I wrote this tune so as to assist kids and care for kids. Unemployment was a significant difficulty in Mali. A number of individuals had little or no. There have been individuals who had been sick. I wrote this tune to encourage individuals to assist them get out of those troublesome conditions. I typically sing on behalf of youngsters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in Bambara).

DOUMBIA: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

SIMON: It is such an honor to have each of you with us. Might we please ask when you might sing a bit of of a tune for us earlier than you allow?

BAGAYOKO: (Talking French).

DOUMBIA: (Talking French).

BAGAYOKO: (Talking French).

DOUMBIA: OK. (Talking French).

BAGAYOKO: (Talking French).

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in Bambara).

SIMON: The world-famed Malian musical duo, Amadou & Mariam. Their newest launch, “Eclipse.” This interview was produced by Danielle Kaye. We additionally had interpretation assist from Yannick Tardy.

AMADOU & MARIAM: (Singing in Bambara).

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