(Because Music, released Fri 9 Jun 2017)
42 years after they met at the Mali Institute for the Young Blind, worldbeat duo Amadou & Miriam release EP Bofou Safou, their first material for five years, in anticipation of their ninth studio album Le Confusion which is due out later in 2017.
They have toured with Coldplay and U2 but have balanced karmic harmony by working with artists such as Damon Albarn and Manu Chao, as well as performing at two world cup opening ceremonies… oh, and a Nobel Peace Prize concert in honour of Barack Obama. They are currently touring the world and come to the UK on Fri 1 Sep for End of the Road Festival in Salisbury and will play at the Troxy in London on Sat 4 Nov.
The EP’s title track is a hypnotic fusion of traditional African music and electro that evolves seamlessly into a hip shaking dancefloor groove. Songs at three minutes are usually designed for radio to cater to our ever-decreasing attention spans, but Bofou Safou is a song that instantly arrests, charms and hides a hook strong enough to snag Leviathan.
The second track Filao Bessame is more traditional in nature but features a welcome sax solo, a sprinkle of jazz and enough variation to keep it accessible to the casual listener or those that studied German at standard grade and not French or Bambara, the dominant language of Mali.
Unfortunately tracks three to seven are where the EP loses stars. Rather than adding more originals, they have opted for five different remixes of Bofou Safou by acclaimed European DJs. The pick of these is Fatima Yamaha’s synth funk take on the track that sounds like something electro mastermind Georgio Moroder might have created in the 80s. Although Bofou Safou is a recommendable track, six versions of it on an EP is just too many.
The EP is more like a single or a preview of the upcoming album which, if it continues in the same vein as the opening two tracks here, would mean a certain buy and would possibly even warrant a ten-hour Megabus mission to London in November. In the meantime, there’s nothing for it but to continue throwing darts at pictures of Bono on the dartboard in the hope that the universe rewards Scotland a date with Mali’s finest musicians.