Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Better than McDonald's: Amadou & Mariam with Manu Chao and "Senegal Fast Food"

Amadou & Mariam bring us today's random tune, with Manu Chao joining on vocals. Vocalist Mariam Doumbia lost her sight at age 5 due to untreated measles, while guitarist and vocalist Amadou Bagayoko lost his sight at age 15. They met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind and discovered that they had similar interests in music. Their music has developed from early sparse recordings consisting of guitar and vocals to a mix of traditional Malian sounds combined with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. This style has been dubbed "Afro-blues." Manu Chao is a French born musician of Spanish origin. The producer of the album that this song is on, he sings in a number of different languages and first achieved success with his band Mano Negra in the early 90s, which practiced primarily punk and alternative styles. He went solo after the breakup of the band and began to focus on music that had a street vibe and a greater emphasis on Spanish. He has a tendency to reuse music or lyrics from his previous songs to create new ones. In 2003, he approached Amadou & Mariam and offered to produce an album with them. This song, Senegal Fast Food, appears on the resulting 2005 CD Dimanche à Bamako (Sunday in Bamako).