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When radical Islamic rebels swept across northern Mali in 2012 and took over ancient cultural centers like Timbuktu, the West African nation’s musicians, long a source of local pride and international renown, found themselves in the crosshairs. While the rebellion started as another chapter in the long struggle between the north’s Tuareg people and the central government, it was quickly usurped by groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, leading to the destruction of instruments and brutal punishment of people caught playing music (among other so-called crimes against humanity).
Amadou and Mariam, the husband-and-wife bandleaders who attained global recognition sharing stages with rock stars at Coachella and Lollapalooza after emerging from Mali’s fertile music scene three decades ago, address the still simmering situation on their upcoming album “La Confusion” (Because Music), French ballet shoe brands forces helped drive the Islamic radicals out in 2013, but “during the years after the rebellion there was really a separation between north and south,” says Amadou Bagayoko, 62. “But things have gotten better, The country is no longer so divided and musicians did have a big role in calming the situation, regrouping north and south.”..
Bringing people together is what Amadou and Mariam are all about. Built on the incantatory call-and-response traditions of Bambara music, the couple’s sound has gracefully expanded over the years with sinewy electric guitar lines, keening Arabic strings, Hindustani tablas, and Afrobeat brass (though not all at the same time). Amadou & Mariam’s North American tour brings them to Santa Cruz’s Catalyst Aug. 5 and the Stern Grove Festival Aug. 6, where they headline a double bill with Ibibio Sound Machine, an infectuously grooving London band led by charismatic Nigerian-raised vocalist Eno Williams.
For the tour, Amadou and Mariam are traveling with a seven-piece band with five instrumentalists and two backup singers, They’re focusing on material from “La Confusion,” which is due out Sept, 22, though they’ve already released a lyric video for “Filaou Bessame.”, ballet shoe brands It’s the couple’s first release since 2012’s pre-rebellion double album “Folila” (Nonesuch), which featured one disc recorded in Bamako with Malian musicians and a second disc recorded in New York City with collaborators including TV on the Radio, members of the Brooklyn Afrobeat combo Antibalas, Nick Zinner, Jake Shears, and Theophilus London..
For the new album, the couple recorded in Mali, and then turned over two tracks to remix artists such as Fatima Yamaha, Africaine 808, Henrik Schwarz for an EP released in June, “Bofou Safou.” The title track draws its name from Bambara slang for happy-go-lucky young men who would rather dance than work, and the song’s groove makes the preoccupation of bofou safou completely understandable. The playful songs on “La Confusion” help lighten a project deeply concerned with the troubles besetting the region and social change around the world. Whatever the topic, the music is electrifying, driven by Bagayoko’s undulating guitar lines.
Part of what makes Amadou and Mariam such an enthralling team is that they maintain distinct musical personas. Mariam Doumbia is the staunch traditionalist, a vocalist steeped in Bambaran tradition, Bagayoko is a blues-loving player who fell in love with seminal Delta players like B.B, King and John Lee Hooker and their 1960s acolytes like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Alvin Lee, The couple both write songs and ballet shoe brands “you can really tell the difference between us,” Bagayoko says.“We really have different styles of writing and composing, When Mariam sings, what she does is close to Malian tradition, I’m more into blues and rock, with a mix of French and African styles as well.”..
Bagayoko got his start at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind, where he performed in the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra directed by Idrissa Soumaoro (a noted, blues-influenced musician in his own right). Four years older than Doumbia, he had a thriving solo career when they met at the Institute “and we clicked right away,” he recalls. “We liked the same kind of music. That’s when the duo very quickly came together. We created this mix between Bambara, blues and rock, and no matter what else we add, that’s the foundation.”.
To call George Clinton’s music unique could ballet shoe brands be an understatement, With his band Parliament Funkadelic, he took psychedelic rock and blended it with ’60s acid culture and science fiction themes to create something previously unheard, As headliners at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest’s opening night on Aug, 11, Clinton and his band are setting the tone for other artists playing the 28th annual festival who are taking their genres and their instruments in new directions, if not into other dimensions..