Celtic Connections review: Amadou And Mariam, Glasgow

Malian couple Amadou And Mariam
Malian couple Amadou And Mariam
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Amadou and Mariam have been touring their acclaimed autobiographical show Eclipse, which is performed in complete darkness in an effort to simulate how the blind husband-and-wife team experience every concert they play.

Amadou And Mariam - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Unfortunately, thanks to some spoilsport health and safety concerns, this Celtic Connections appearance was not that show. But though unable to play in full blackout conditions as desired, the Malian couple easily succeeded in inviting the audience into their world through the sheer vibrancy and feelgood spirit of their music.

Ad hoc dancing corners were quickly established by concertgoers who couldn’t help but move to the groove laid down by their funky rocking backing band, over which Amadou layered his dexterous, glistening guitar licks and Mariam her rich alto vocals and MC incitements to party.

“Are you ready?” Amadou inquired before each fresh assault on the feet.

One can only assume that he already knew the answer, picking up on the energy in 
the room as the dancing spread up the aisles to the hypnotic thrust of Africa Mon Afrique and their Afro blues boogie eventually took hold of the whole crowd, who were on their feet by the halfway point and stayed there for the remainder of the set.

Then, in the encore, a beautiful breather as Mariam exercised her full vocal range on shimmering Afro pop number Sebeke, unexpectedly garnished with indie-style synth arpeggios before the band’s percussive engine kicked in again and took the track and the gig to its irresistible conclusion.