Amadou & Mariam Officially Announce The Release Of An Upcoming "Best Of" Album, La Vie Est Belle

Article Contributed by JP Cutler Media | Published on Sunday, June 2, 2024

Icons of Malian music with an illustrious multi-platinum career spanning nearly 50 years, GRAMMY Award-nominated Amadou & Mariam announce the release of La Vie Est Belle, a new album featuring their greatest hits since 1998 in addition to exclusive new tracks "Mogolu" (released April 24, 2024; VIEW MUSIC VIDEO) composed by Manu Chao and the duo's hit song "Beaux Dimanches" reworked by notorious French Hip-Hop producer Ever Mihigo (Aya Nakamura, Tiakola, Oboy) released today, May 31, 2024 (VIEW LYRIC VIDEO). Due out on September 6, 2024, La Vie Est Belle highlights Amadou & Mariam's legacy as Africa's most famous duo and the incredible influence they've had on paving the way for exciting new African artists now hitting the mainstream.

Amadou & Mariam are the ultimate ambassadors of Afro-pop who have collaborated with an array of today's biggest stars from U2, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, to David Gilmour while selling more than 1 million albums across their catalog of seven acclaimed studio albums. Whether on the world's largest stages performing at the World Cup, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" (LINK), or on late-night TV in the U.S. and UK, Amadou & Mariam have made their way into the hearts of music fans across a variety of genres. From dance floor bangers by Sofi Tukker and BLOND:ISH featuring Amadou & Mariam, to collabs with Santigold, TV On The Radio, Akon, and Damon Albarn, Amadou & Mariam are shapeshifters at the forefront of today's trendsetting Africa music scene.

The Legendary Career Of Amadou & Mariam Featured On La Vie Est Belle (Release Date: Sept. 6, 2024)
Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia first met at the Bamako Institute for Young Blind People in Mali in the 70's, and went on to captivate audiences throughout Mali and the Ivory Coast in the 80's, before being spotted in the early 90's by maverick talent scout Marc-Antoine Moreau, who would later become their manager, encouraging them to go international.

One winter evening in 1998 changed everything. At the Transmusicales festival in Rennes, the duo presented their second album, SOU NI TI LE, featuring their song in French, "Je Pense À Toi." "There were so many people there," says Amadou & Mariam. "We didn't know anyone and no one knew us. But we really set the place on fire. There were so many encores. I'll never forget that first show at the festival." Since that day, the chorus "Je pense à toi, mon amour, ma bien aimée" has become a radio favorite, and one of the first refrains to be indelibly associated with the couple's musical identity. It comes as no surprise that the song takes pride of its place on the "Best Of" album La Vie Est Belle, alongside many other classic songs that would come in the following years.

One of which is Amadou & Mariam's latest single "Mogolu," composed by Manu Chao. A mixture of infectious, danceable Afro-beat rhythms and hypnotic melodies of tradition and modernity with a unique set of both organic and electronic sounds, "Mogolu" is effortlessly carried by Mariam's heavenly vocals. "Mogolu" delightfully taps into everything that is magical and powerful about such irresistible hits as "Je Pense À Toi," "Sabali," and "Bofou Safou." Mogolu, which means 'people' in Bambara, is a celebration of human encounters, travels, and diversity, echoing the duo's longstanding commitment to peace, as well as an empowering invitation to dance. It is a guaranteed toe-tapper that will have people shaking wildly under the sun. "We want people to sing with us, dance with us, party with us!" states Mariam.

The release of La Vie Est Belle marks the 20th anniversary of another lauded album from the Malian duo, on which they collaborated with Manu Chao, DIMANCHE A BAMAKO (Because - 2004). The record was certified "Triple Platinum" in France (with over 500,000 copies sold internationally), spending 101 weeks in Top Albums charts and winning a Victoire de la Musique award, as well as two BBC Radio 3 Awards while being nominated at the Mojo Awards. "Many people from all over heard about 'Dimanche à Bamako,'" notes Amadou. To celebrate the 20-year milestone of releasing their acclaimed albums on Because Music, Ever Mihigo (legendary producer of Aya Nakamura, Kalash, Oboy, Poupie, Tiakola...) is hand-selected to rework its title track, "Beaux Dimanches." DIMANCHE A BAMAKO's song "Mbifé," with its folk blues tones, as well as the politically-engaged songs "Senegal Fast Food" and "La Réalité" also are featured on La Vie Est Belle.

The 2000's continued to be a prolific decade for the duo, with Damon Albarn (Gorillaz/Blur) notably joining them on the album, WELCOME TO MALI (Because 2008), and producing the powerful "Sabali," which opens La Vie Est Belle. Their artistic partnership further developed through the hybrid project Africa Express, featuring Johnny Marr and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Other artists included Amadou's idol David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Fatoumata Diawara, Cheik Tidiane Seck, Tony Allen, Salif Keïta, Oumou Sangaré, Rachid Taha, Catherine Ringer, Paul McCartney, Roots Manuva, Fatboy Slim, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Kooks. Amadou says, "This is when we realized our music had something universal about it, even when we sing in Bambara."

La Vie Est Belle includes two other collaborations from WELCOME TO MALI, which was certified gold in France and received a Victoire de la Musique award: "Masiteladi" with guest star M, and "Africa" with K'Naan. During this period, the duo made a string of international appearances, opening for Coldplay on their U.S. tour, then for U2 in South Africa, and playing with Blur in Hyde Park and as guests at Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony -- "he was cool," says Amadou. In June 2010 and 2014, Amadou & Mariam played the opening concerts of the FIFA World Cup. In the midst of all these travels, they released the album, AMADOU & MARIAM REMIXES (Because 2010), which features a version of "Coulibaly" with the renowned American rapper Akon, that's also included on La Vie Est Belle.

In 2011, the world's best-known Malian couple were invited by the Manchester International Festival to perform in complete darkness at the New Century Hall. The experience was captured on the album ECLIPSE, and was replicated in London and Paris, offering insight into how music feels to the blind. A recorded and illustrated live version of Oxmo Puccino's recounting of their lives is available on CD 2 of La Vie Est Belle's Deluxe CD edition (and on streaming platforms as of 2022).

Adding to the long list of hit collaborations on La Vie Est Belle, we find Santigold on "Dougou Badia" and TV On The Radio on "Wily Kataso." These songs were part of the eclectic FOLILA record (Because) released in 2012, which also included contributions from such prestigious guests as Scissors Sisters, Amp Fiddler, Ebony Bones and Theophilius London. Also, on the album are "C'est Chaud" and "Bofou Safou" from their LA CONFUSION release (Because) produced by Bon Voyage Organisation in 2017. These renowned releases further expanded the duo's musical palette, blending electro-pop, art-rock, disco and hip-hop soundscapes into their own take on African soul music.

"We love listening to all kinds of music so we can feed our sound with new influences. Mixing different types and genres of music is something we're really passionate about. There are no boundaries when it comes to music. We've matured with and through other artists," comments Amadou & Mariam.

Since then, the couple have continued to tour the globe (China, Lebanon, New Caledonia, Singapore, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Turkey, among other countries) and have taken up ever more varied invitations, including one from electronic artists Francis Mercier and BLOND:ISH that's featured on La Vie Est Belle's closing track, "Sete." Amadou & Mariam have also worked with artists ranging from the worlds of pop (Christophe Maé, Sofi Tukker), gospel (The Blind Boys Of Alabama) and reggae (Tiken Jah Fakoly) music, and they have contributed to a number of politically-engaged projects, such as "My Sahel," an initiative to help the Sahel region and most notably involving Vieux Farka Touré and OMG Oumy Gueye, and "Les Amazones d'Afrique", a collective effort by Mariam, Oumou Sangaré and Mamani Keita to promote gender equality and eradicate ancestral forms of violence. "We will sing of peace and love until our last breath," says Mariam.

Last but certainly not least, there is the eponymous track "La Vie Est Belle," produced by Busy Twist, who also enjoys weaving his musical work around traditional rhythms and cutting-edge sounds. This exclusive track gives fans a glimpse of what's in store for the duo. After all, Amadou & Mariam have plenty of Sundays left to sing and tell us about, whether in Bamako or anywhere else.

La Vie Est Belle will come out in digital form, as well as on double vinyl and in a deluxe double CD edition, with a bonus live performance from Eclipse featured on CD2.

Amadou & Mariam
La Vie Est Belle


1. Sabali
2. Mogolu
3. Beaux Dimanches
4. Ce N'est Pas Bon
5. Masiteladi feat M
6. La Vie est Belle
7. La Réalité
8. Bofou Safou
9. Sénégal Fast Food
10. MBife
11. Dougou Badia feat Santigold
12. Je Pense À Toi (Eclipse Version)
13. Africa feat K'NAAN
14. Wily Kataso feat TV On The Radio
15. C'est Chaud
16. Coulibaly (Akon remix)
17. Beaux Dimanches (2024 rework)
18. Sete feat Blond:ish, Francis Mercier