Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (1954-) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (1958-). Amadou lost his vision at the age of 16, while Mariam became blind at age 5 as a consequence of untreated measles. Known as “the blind couple from Mali”, they met at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind, where they both performed at the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra, directed by Idrissa Soumaouro, and found they shared an interest in music. The duo’s early recordings in the 1980s and 1990s featured sparse arrangements of guitar and voice. Since the late 1990s Amadou & Mariam have produced music that mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. In combination these elements have been called “Afro-blues”. Their album Welcome To Mali (2008) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Je pense a toi, mon amour, ma bien aimée
Ne m’abandonne pas, mon amour, ma chérie

I think of you my love, my beloved
Don’t leave me, my love, my dear

Quand je suis dans mon lit, je ne rêve qu’à toi
Et quand je me réveille, je ne pense qu’a toi

When I’m in my bed, I dream only of you
And when I wake up, I think only of you

Si je ne te vois pas, je ne peux rien dire
Je ne peux rien faire, je ne peux rien voir
Je ne veux rien savoir
Mon amour, ma chérie

If I don’t see you, I can say nothing
I can do nothing, I can see nothing
I don’t want to know about anything
My love, my dearest

Certains t’ont promis la terre
D’autres promettent le ciel
Il y en a qui t’ont promis la lune
Et moi je n’ai rien que ma pauvre guitare

You’ve been promised the world by some
Others promise heaven
Some promised you the moon
And I have nothing but my poor guitar