Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A couple of years ago I picked up Amadou & Mariam's stunning 'Dimanche à Bamako' album and was blown away not just by the wonderful songs but by the fact that on several occasions the vocal melodies the husband and wife duo struck up seemed like exact echoes of the melodies that Damon Albarn has been using - not just in the last few years, when his interest in African music has been well known, but right through his career. It seemed like an incongruous but strangely apt comparison, and one of those happy accidents of art which sometimes magically occur.

Their new single, the gorgeous 'Samali' contains yet more of these hypnotic melodies, but if the rest of the song also rings bells it's because it's been produced (and, one suspects, co-written) by Albarn himself, who spins a spellbinding concoction of echoey keyboards, beats and atmospherics around the vocal, producing along the way a song that sounds utterly modern without ever sounding contrived. It's a magnificent single, and deserves to be a hit. You can stream it here.

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