All photos: Blinkofanaye
A musical husband-and-wife duo that got its start in Mali, Amadou & Mariam met in 1975 at Mali’s Bamako Institute for the Young Blind. Amadou (born Amadou Bagayoko in Bamako in October of 1954) began his musical career in 1968, and by 1974 had joined Les Ambassadeurs du Motel, a leading group (which counted Salif Keita as a member) in his home country. He wound up at the aforementioned institute after becoming blind as a teenager through a congenital cataract. His future wife, Mariam Doumbia (born in Bamako on April 15, 1958), was already at the institute (she became blind at the age of five), studying Braille as well as teaching classes in dance and music. Over time, the pair would have a huge influence on the artistic programs at the school, with Amadou directing a group of pupils and Mariam handling lead vocal duties for the school orchestra.
In 2008, Blur’s Damon Albarn was enlisted to help out on Welcome To Mali‘s opening track and first single “Sabali,” no doubt a collaboration essential to their crossover success with indie blogs in the United States.
The duo, with their band in tow, are back in the U.S. touring for their 2012 LB, Folila. Here are Blink’s shots from earlier this week at the 930 Club: