music clip of the day


Tag: Amadou & Mariam

Friday, July 21st

can’t wait

Monday night, Chicago—Millenium Park.

Amadou & Mariam (feat. Manu Chao), “Senegal Fast Food,” 2004




random thoughts

The story we tell ourselves of who we are is just that—a story we tell ourselves of who we are.

Saturday, November 21st

sounds of Mali and France

Amadou & Mariam with guest Bertrand Cantat, live, France (near Belfort), 2012



reading table

We dream – it is good we are dreaming –
It would hurt us – were we awake –

—Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), #584 (Franklin), excerpt

Saturday, February 2nd

Vive la France, Vive le Mali

The recapture of Timbuktu was done by moonlight. More than 250 French troops parachuted down to the northern entrance of the fabled desert city, while an armoured column sealed the southern exit.

After close to a year of occupation by Islamists, which has driven more than half the population from Mali’s cultural heart and left an unknown toll on its famous libraries and shrines, the ordeal was over.

“Not a shot was fired,” said a French Colonel who declined to give his name, but confirmed he had led the 12-day operation to retake the city.

By this afternoon the city’s maze of dusty streets were being patrolled by French and Malian troops for remaining militants and crowds had gathered at every corner chanting: “Vive la France, vive le Mali!”

Women and children mobbed two pick-up trucks of Malian soldiers that arrived after the French force had sealed the city. One man was dressed from head to foot in a costume that he had fashioned from hand-stitched Tricolore flags. Many of the women were dressed in vivid colours and had removed their veils to replace them with flags.

Mohamed Ibrahim Traore, a shopkeeper whose store has been closed for months said the women were happy “because they don’t have to put on the veils on their face”. “Today we got our liberty back,” he said. “Every Malian deserves their liberty, the Frency army and the Malian army have given us this.”


A crowd had gathered at the house of singer Akia Coulibaly. Dressed in a turquoise wrap she stopped her street show briefly to recount how life has been since last April when Timbuktu fell into the hands of Islamists.

“We are having a party,” she shouted over the din. “We haven’t danced or sung while they have been here. They cut hands, they beat people. We have been prisoners.”

—Daniel Howden, Timbuktu, The Independent, 1/28/13


Voices United for Mali,* “Mali Ko (La Paix/Peace),” 1/13

*Fatoumata Diawara, Amadou & Mariam, Oumou Sangare, Bassekou Kouyate, Vieux Farka Toure, Djelimady Tounkara, Toumani Diabate, Khaira Arby, et al.

Tuesday, 3/27/12

what’s new

Let’s pick up where we left off—Mali.

Amadou & Mariam (with Tunde Adibimpe & Kyp Malone [TV on the Radio]), “Wily Kataso,” 2012

More? Here. And here.

Thursday, 9/30/10

Mali—one of the poorest countries economically, one of the richest musically.

Amadou & Mariam

Live, Mali (Festival of the Desert), 2010


“Dimanche A Bamako,” live (with David Gilmour, guitar), England (Islington), 2009


“Welcome To Mali,” “Africa,” live, South Africa (Johannesburg), 2010

Want more? Here.


I saw Amadou & Mariam, like Orchestra Baobob, with my son Alex—last year at Chicago’s Park West.

How far away does Africa seem to Alex?

About as far, I think, as South Carolina seemed to me at 23.

Tuesday, 9/29/09

With a big shout-out to my older son Alex, here—on his birthday (22!)—is a small sampling of the music he’s opened my ears to.


The Very Best

Here’s something he emailed me just last week—new sounds out of Africa (by way of England).

The Very Best, “Julia”


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Here’s a show he saw over the summer, while living in New York.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, live, NYC (South Street Seaport), 7/09

“Come Saturday”


“Everything With You”


“The Pains of Being Pure at Heart”


Amadou & Mariam

I might have gotten around to Amadou & Mariam sooner or later on my own, but thanks to Alex—who played me their (wonderful) album Dimanche a Bamako a few years ago—I got to this Malian duo sooner. (He and I saw them together, at Chicago’s Park West, in May, just a few months after this performance.)

Amadou & Mariam, “Sebeke,” live, Paris, 2008


Talib Kweli

Several years ago, thanks to Alex, I first heard this hip-hop artist’s (terrific) album Quality.

Talib Kweli, “Get By,” live, NYC, 2007

Want to hear the original studio track? Here. (Yeah, that’s Kanye at 1:20 and again at 3:24—he produced this track.)

(For all you hip-hop-&-law trivia buffs, Kweli’s the answer to the following question: What hip-hop artist has a brother who’s a professor at a top law school? [Jamal Greene, Columbia].)



Want to see the world (bits and pieces of it, anyway) through the eyes of one now-22-year-old? Here. Here. Here.

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