Amadou and Mariam
Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, a blind married couple whose life story is as remarkable as its music, have long been stars in West Africa. They draw the musical traditions of their native Mali and the neighboring Ivory Coast, while also embracing the Latin American salsa, Cuban son, reggae, American R&B, and English blues-rock that they discovered via long-distance broadcasts.
The duo met in the 1970s while students at the Institute for Young Blind People in Bamako, Mali's capital, where Amadou was already admired for his blues-and-rock-influenced guitar playing and Mariam for her songwriting and vocal prowess. Amadou played alongside Salif Keita in the premier '70s Malian band Les Ambassadeurs before forming a duo with Mariam in 1980, the year they were married. Their 1999 European major label debut, Sou Ni Tile (Night and Day), yielded a French hit, "Ma Cherie, Mon Amour," and was followed by two more successful discs, Tji Ni Mousso (Man and Woman) in 2000 and Wati in 2003.