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Interview: Amadou & Mariam

The Mali duo tell us about being on the road with Coldplay

22 Jul 2009

Interview: Amadou & Mariam

With the wonderful Mali duo Amadou & Mariam nearing the end of their ten support dates with Coldplay, we sent over some questions to find out a bit more about them.

Hello, how are you?
We are fine!

How have the shows with Coldplay been going so far?
It’s going very good. It’s a new audience for us. They are discovering us and we are discovering them. It’s very interesting and we feel we are communicating more and more…

Do you approach support slots differently to a headline slot?
Opening is always a different approach. We know that audience don’t come for us, we are trying to get them attracted by our music. For us it’s a great opportunity to make new fans.

How would you describe your music to Coldplay fans who haven’t heard it?
An African-based music mixed with spices of blues and rock. It’s warm, joyful. It’s party music with some messages.

Is it a nice challenge to play to fans who might not have heard your music – or even your style of music – before?
Challenge is important for us. It’s nice to play for people that don’t know us in fact.

You’ve recently played with Blur and at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, how were those shows?
It was very hot. English audience knows us more. It was a truly great experience!

How did you come to be on the Coldplay tour?
We met Coldplay in a TV show in England. They liked our music apparently and we were happy when they invited us.

Are you fans of the band?
Yes we like their music.

Are they popular in Mali?
Not really. Up to now…

Had you been to a Coldplay show before?
No.

What do you make of their performances on this tour?
They are great musicians. Of course we don’t see them perform but we feel the audience getting crazy for them and we have some descriptions from the people travelling with us. They seem to be very good performers!

Are you getting any time to have a wander around the towns you’re playing in?
No.

You recorded the official anthem for the 2006 World Cup. Are you excited about next year’s World Cup being in Africa?

One thing’s for sure we love the fact that the cup will be played for the first time in Africa!

Do you think Mali can still qualify?
Of course we hope for it!

You guys seem to tour constantly, do you have any tips for making travelling more bearable?
Free time makes travel more fun. We like to go shopping for example. Not only be in the music routine. Doing normal things is important.

What do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?
Touring and then travelling back to Mali at the end of the year.

Finally, what’s your favourite Coldplay song (and why)?
It’s difficult to say ’cause we love many songs but regarding this live tour we could mention: Violet Hill, Death Will Never Conquer & Viva La Vida.

For more information on Amadou & Mariam, head over to amadou-mariam.com (and if you haven’t heard them before, the track Sabali is a great place to start)


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