Amadou & Mariam's "Richly Textured" New Album, "Folila," Streaming in Full As NPR First Listen
Folila, Amadou & Mariam's first studio album since 2009's acclaimed Welcome to Mali, is due out in the United States on Because Music / Nonesuch Records next week, April 10. But you don't need to wait till then to hear it. 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, is streaming in full all this week as an NPR First Listen.
"The result is richly textured," says NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas. Folila "is at its very best when it relaxes into joyous West African grooves in tunes like 'Baro' and 'Mogo,' as well as the sweet love song 'Sans Toi' and 'Chérie,' a lilting paean to family."
Listen to those and all twelve tracks on the album at npr.org.
Folila is out now in Europe and the UK, where it earns a perfect five out of five stars in the Daily Telegraph and four stars from the Independent. The album and its many collaborations "demonstrate how adeptly Amadou & Mariam straddle both local and global, with a truly 'world' music that deserves mainstream chart success rather than niche appreciation," writes Independent music critic Andy Gill. "[A]t the heart of every song is the irresistible combination of Amadou's trilling, cyclical guitar figures and the duo's uplifting vocal harmonies. Best of all is the single "Dougou Badia", featuring Santigold, which ends with full-on duelling rock guitars." Read the four-star review at independent.co.uk.
Contributions from the album's many special guests allow for "gorgeous juxtapositions," writes reviewer Dan Cairns in the Sunday Times of London. "Folila is Bambara for 'music'—and you could hardly imagine a better title for an album that brings together such varied talents to communicate the sheer joy of making music." The collaborations "all serve the song and all are there only to enhance the unfathomably brilliant guitar work of Amadou and the effortlessly beautiful voice of Mariam." Times subscribers can read the review online at thesundaytimes.co.uk.
"Malian musicians Amadou and Mariam mix electric guitar, bluesy vocals, folk-like politically conscious lyrics, and afro-beats," writes Interview's Emma Brown. "If you've heard their songs described as "world" music, you've been misled. There are plenty of worldly things about the duo—the eclectic collection of artists they've collaborated with, their constant country-hopping, their mix of English, French, and Bambara lyrics—but the genre of the their music is not one of them."
Read more and find out what Amadou & Mariam have to say at interviewmagazine.com.
To pre-order Amadou & Mariam's Folila in the US, head to the Nonesuch Store now, where orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album available to download starting release day.