The 2019 Grammys

Amadou & Mariam Talk 'La Confusion' Album, Share Title Track's Video: Premiere

Courtesy Photo
Amadou & Mariam, "La Confusion"

Confusing times call for music about that confusion -- at least if you're Amadou & Mariam.

The married Malian duo has tapped the unrest in its homeland as well as the world at large for its upcoming ninth album La Confusion, whose title track is premiering exclusively below. Produced by Adrien Durand and recorded in Paris, the 12-song set, due out Sept. 22, features another exploration in world groove, adding some new sonic textures and flavors amidst the percolating and often joyful sound that's the duo's trademark. 

"This project represented for us a step forward on our own music," Amadou Doumbia tells Billboard via a translator. "Musically we wanted to keep mixing our African spirit with the tendency of nowadays and we introduced more keyboards and a more dancing atmosphere on them. The result is an 'African pop' record, we could say, Nowadays African music is very modern, and we think we are summing to that. My guitar and our vocals are still for us our brand and how they symbolize Mali/Africa to us, our roots. But we also liked the album has a rock side still, too."

Lyrically, meanwhile, Amadou & Mariam discovered early on that the very specific situations in Mali that they were writing about had global relevance as well. "Basically with our lyrics we want to let people know what issues we have in our country and in our continent," Amadou says. "But in the end you realize that those problems are global, pertaining and affecting everyone in different parts of our world. So the message becomes global, also because we share problems. In our minds we do not want to just accept the adversities as they are." La Confusion's title track, meanwhile, essays on the challenges brought about by too much mass communication. 

"It is very strange times, when you do not know what and why things are happening." Amadou says. "We definitely are, and feel that many people are confused too. No one is listening to each other anymore, and big values become just words. If you hear the news you will notice that things have changed, are changing and will changed again tomorrow, like if someone has inverted the reality and we do not know what to believe. In this song we explore that, how nothing is what seems and you have to get a lot of patience to understand what is really going on."

The song's video, however, offers a bit of light but also added poignancy by using children to illustrate the "confusion" at hand. "We wanted people to enjoy rather to get sad with only problems," Amadou says. "Sometimes by making people forget you can actually make them think. We were not present on the shooting but ... with simple materials and good ideas a video clip can be so powerful."

Amadou & Mariam recently wrapped up a North American tour, which Amadou terms "a big success ... people were coming to have a good time, enjoy and dance." The group is headed to Europe next and plans to be back in the U.S. for more shows during 2018.