Amadou & Mariam – Africa

Release Date 12/07/2010 (Because Music)

By Chris Gilliver

Taken from the excellent album Welcome To Mali, released over 18 months ago, it’s hard not to be cynical about the timing of this release. I appreciate that Amadou & Mariam played Africa at the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, but it seems the song’s release so long after the album’s release is something of a shameless cash in on the Africa-mania sweeping across the world in the light of a successful tournament (despite some terrible refereeing).

I say this in part because I don’t feel that the World Cup will actually change any of South Africa’s endemic problems (poverty, crime etc.) – look what happened to Greece after the Olympics – and any song released to coincide with the tournament and hence make money off it should be diverting the profits to actually making a difference.

Perhaps more importantly, Welcome To Mali is a fine Afro-Blues album, soaked through with colour, rainfall and Cuban trumpets and chocked full of fine tracks, but this is not one of them. The politically charged Ce N’est Pas Bon would be preferable and more accurate.

Saying all that, Africa is not bad, Amadou & Mariam remain one of Mali’s finest exports, and CityLifers will continue to support this exceptional couple.

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