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Amadou & Mariam's New Album, "Folila," Out Now: "Magic," Says Newsweek; Their "Most Enjoyable Disc Yet" (AP)

Amadou & Mariam: "Folila"
Folila, Amadou & Mariam's first studio album since 2009's acclaimed Welcome to Mali, is out today in the United States on Because Music / Nonesuch Records. The album, which was helmed by longtime producer Marc-Antoine Moreau and epitomizes the duo's embrace of collaboration, with contributions by Santigold, TV on the Radio, Nick Zinner, Theophilus London, Bassekou Kouyate, and others, was received with critical acclaim upon its European release earlier this month, earning five stars in the Daily Telegraph and four stars in the Independent, which said the album and its many collaborations "demonstrate how adeptly Amadou & Mariam straddle both local and global, with a truly 'world' music."

Now that the album is out in the US, the critical acclaim continues on the other side of the Atlantic as well. Folila may be "this duo’s most enjoyable disc yet," says the Associated Press. "Credit the driving, rhythmic guitar playing of Amadou as the element that ties many disparate elements together. This is thrilling, catchy and complex music that satisfies even if you haven’t a clue what they’re singing about (although the package includes an English translation of the lyrics). That’s no small feat." Read the complete AP review in the Washington Post at

Entertainment Weekly gives Folila an A-. Even with contributions from artists from around the world on the album, the music brings the artists together. "Though they sing in different languages, the tongue of teamwork makes for universal understanding," writes EW reviewer Kyle Anderson, "especially on the spry, haunting 'Wily Kataso.'" Read the review at

Amadou & Mariam are the subject of a feature article in Newsweek, which looks at both the collaborative nature of the album and the areas where the Malian couple's own duo form shines. Newsweek's Jesse Ellison sums up the couple's appeal: "Magic, indeed." Read the article at

The Philadelphia Inquirer gives the album three-and-a-half out of four stars with music critic Dan DeLuca noting how the couple expands upon its signature sound. "[Amadou] Bagayako's circular guitar lines and [Mariam] Doubia's deeply soulful, keening vocals have pulled from European and American sources as well as West African rhythms all along, and on Folila (which means "music" in the Malian language of Bambara), they're simply adding new elements to a richly varied approach that has served them well for years." Read the review at

"Though Malian husband and wife duo Amadou & Mariam are blind, their new album Folila feels like music rendered in vivid Technicolor," raves the Christian Science Monitor. "From start to finish, Folila can barely contain the joy." Read more at

Planet's Thomas Beckwith recognizes a similar benefit—"a good thing"—in the duo's musical consistency. "There aren’t many bands that know who they are as well as these two, and even fewer who can maintain such quality."


Amadou & Mariam recently recorded duo acoustic takes on two songs from the new album, “Oh Amadou” and “Wily Kataso,” for The Fader while they were in New York City. Watch the performances here:

Oh Amadou

Wily Kataso


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