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CD Review: Amadou & Mariam - Folila

By April 25, 2012

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Currently in hot rotation on my iPod (and, presumably, radio stations around the world) is the newest release from blind Malian couple Amadou et Mariam, Folila. It's a great record: modern, elegant, and by every measure, cool. Have you heard it yet? What's your impression?

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May 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm
(1) Zoe Willet says:

Why do you find it necessary to mention that they are blind? Do you think that affects their music? Would you mention it if a musician were an amputee, or had some other unalterable physical handicap?

May 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm
(2) Megan Romer - World Music says:

Amadou et Mariam refer to themselves in all of their press materials as “The Blind Couple from Mali,” and have gone so far as to stage entire concerts in the pitch dark, with the goal of helping their listeners experience a tiny sliver of their musical reality. It’s something that they celebrate and embrace as a very important part of their identity, both personally and musically, so it seems rather disrespectful to ignore that.

And sure, if any other artist made a point of regularly and directly mentioning their physical handicap, whatever that may be, I would absolutely mention it. Why not? If it’s relevant to their artistic existence (which, I suspect, is more often than not the case with anyone with an extreme disability), then it’s likely relevant to our experience as listeners.

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