Authors, Composers, Artists - Amadou and Mariam

Summary


"The fizziest afro-pop blues ever bottled" is how The Observer described Dimanche à Bamako (Sunday in Bamako), the latest album by Malian duo Amadou and Mariam. Released in France in November 2004, the CD went platinum, shot to number two in the charts - the highest position ever achieved in the European music charts by an African act - and won the prestigious Victoire de la Musique. Transcending musical genres, Dimanche à Bamako has made waves in rock, pop, rhythm and blues and world music charts, and was recently nominated for a Grammy Award in the United States. Drawn together through a shared passion for music, the couple first met at the Malian Institute for Young Blind People in 1976. Mariam Doumbia, blind from birth, had started out singing traditional music at weddings and local festivals. Amadou Bagayokou, a singer/composer who had lost his sight at 15, played guitar with well known Malian musicians, Les Ambassadeurs. The couple married and began performing together in 1980. While long popular in Africa and among aficionados of world music, it was not until 1998 that the release of Je t’aime mon amour, ma chérie (I love you, my dearest, my love) was to propel them to international stardom. The path to success was not smooth, and the story of Amadou and Mariam is as much a testimony to their determination as it is to their undisputed artistic talent. Vocal proponents of copyright as the means for artists to earn a decent living, Amadou and Mariam struggled for years as rampant piracy creamed off the income from their music sales. While fame now enables them to support their family in comfort, the couple still live modestly and maintain an exhausting work schedule. WIPO Magazine recently interviewed Amadou between concerts in Paris. In the following extracts Amadou reflects on his personal experience of creativity and copyright. A short film of the interview will shortly be available on WIPO’s website.

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Extract


Authors, Composers, Artists - Amadou and Mariam

On inspiration and creativity

"Inspiration comes from different sources. It comes from something inside you, your personal history, and, for me, the history of my country, which has marked my own life story. A lot...

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