10 rue de L’EspoirPresented by the Year 8 PFB students of the Middle School of La Grande Boissière06/06/2023, 08/06/2023
Absolute Magic Dance RecitalENCORE Performing Arts Academy18/06/2023
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What it takes to set the dance floor on fire is sometimes just one song.
Bofou Safou, the song that drives the album La Confusion and is a relentless summer must-have, did not need to lay claim to any rights. It immediately embedded itself into the synapses. Afro beat, hedonistic, jubilant, whose rhythm section tends towards Chicago house and provokes the unstoppable desire to sway until the early hours of the morning.
Bofou Safou: a nickname given in Bambara (Mali's native language) to those who never do a stroke of work and prefer to indulge in playfulness. "You have to work in life/You must not cross your arms in life/You have to make yourself useful in life.” Mariam's benevolent reminder. Amadou and Mariam are now emblematic figures on the musical landscape, as reassuring as they are familiar, local as well as international, always between cultural mix and identity heritage.
They are a duo that is definitely inseparable, constantly on the move, their curiosity open to all horizons. A reflection of two personalities that are both builders and adaptable. While seeking to nourish their records with Malian roots, each time they impose a great mix that pumps up the genres. A unique trajectory that has led them to perform in front of Barack Obama, on the stage of the absolute behemoth of festivals (Coachella), to perform at the opening of the football World Cup in South Africa and even to imagine a series of concerts in total darkness (Éclipses). These experiences are obviously not exhaustive. "We're lucky, we've seen the whole world.” This significant phrase from Amadou, not without a touch of self-deprecation, perfectly sums up the unifying aura of the duo. The latter never stops multiplying the number of dates. These extensive tours explain in a way the rather long gap between albums.
Each album by Amadou and Mariam is often the result of one or more decisive and precious encounters. Around them, Manu Chao, Damon Albarn, - M -, Santigold, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Keziah Jones, Akon, TV On The Radio... have already joined the dance.
Again, the list could be extended. A festive collision of artists with heterogeneous aspirations but united by a passion without borders.
For this eighth studio album, Amadou and Mariam have decided this time to take a break, no trace of duets or features. Instead, they have returned to an approach centred on the Malian duo. "We wanted to get back to the basics and I think our audience also felt this desire.” This new starting point was taken up by Adrien Durand. The head of Bon Voyage Organisation, a trendy band that has made a name for itself with two convincing EPs, does not hide his appetite for exotic destinations. So he was the right man to inject his hybrid vision and ethno-futuristic approach. Boldness, confidence and skilful fusions. By turns complex and raw, luminous and dark, adventurous and respectful of Amadou and Mariam's initial intentions, this thirty-year-old embraces the most distant styles with flair and fluidity. Able to follow boldly a traditional dance from Burkina Faso (Yiki Yassa), to soaring to West Coast sounds (Filaou Besame), to celebrate the unchanging values of the Peuls (nomadic Muslim pastoralists from the Sahel-Sahara region) or to give free rein to Afro-Cuban breakthroughs (Fari Mandila).
His obsession? To revive the heritage of hotel orchestras, so characteristic of Africa. In his wake, he brings along a flock of young musicians. We come across saxophonist Adrien Soleiman and Brazilian percussionist Ze Luis Nascimento. At the mix, the venerable American Jimmy Douglas, a four-time Grammy Award winner whose CV is absolutely staggering (The Internet,The Weeknd, Rolling Stones, Bjork, Aretha Franklin...).
As usual, their speech is a switch between Bambara and French, but above all, it is an uncompromising response to current events.
On La Confusion, Amadou and Mariam do not turn in on themselves. Rather they adopt a humanist and universal approach. This sometimes sharp observation is constantly counterbalanced by a shimmering music that goes through all the gears. "It's confusion everywhere/ It's illusion everywhere/It's division over everything," they sing in the eponymous track. The omnipresent choirs nestle in to boost the choruses in unison. Further on, there is a lucid vision of exile (C'est Chaud), a prayer addressed to religious authority to solve the world's fractures (Massa Allah), a heartfelt tribute to African women and the need for them to occupy a major place in society (Femmes du Monde). Finally, there is a ballad in which Mariam's warm voice sounds incantatory (Mokou Blues), and swaying rhythms on a track that points to a missed opportunity (Ta Promesse). Amadou and Mariam, citizens of today, awake and concerned. They summon dance, trance and warm embraces to keep them from accepting defeat.
Tickets: Open on 16 August at 12:00
Doors open: 20:00
Photo: Julot Bandit
© 2021 Fondation de l'Ecole Internationale de Genève