Amadou & Marian are delighted to announce a new compilation album ‘LA VIE EST BELLE’, ahead of a string of UK appearances this Summer.

After “L’Intégrale Des Années Maliennes” (Because Music 2005), a compilation of the duo’s first records, ‘LA VIE EST BELLE’, will feature their greatest hits since 1998 in addition to exclusive new tracks. It’s the perfect way to celebrate a career spanning almost 50 years across the world.

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.

Weve always dreamed of tearing down walls and opening people’s ears to new sounds so the whole world can discover and appreciate Malian music” say the duo.

And it was one winter evening in 1998 that everything changed. 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. 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 favourite, 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 place on the greatest hits compilation of ‘La Vie Est Belle’, alongside many others that would follow in the following years.

One of which is their new single “Mogolu”. A mixture of infectious danceable Afro-beat rhythms and hypnotic melodies, of tradition and modernity, of organic and electronic sounds, 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 long-standing commitment to peace, as well as a powerful 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 this compilation also marks the 20th anniversary of another iconic album from the Malian couple, 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 its 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,” laughs Amadou. To celebrate the 20 year milestone, Ever Mihigo (legendary producer of Aya Nakamura, Kalash, Oboy, Poupie, Tiakola…) reworked its title track. The record’s “Mbifé”, with its folk blues tones, and politically engaged “Senegal Fast Food” and “La Réalité”, also found their way into the greatest hits album.

The 2000’s continued to be a prolific period 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 the compilation. Their artistic partnership further developed through the hybrid project Africa Express, featuring Johnny Marr and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Others included Amadou’s idol David Gilmour (formerly of 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, The Kooks…

That’s when we realised our music has something universal about it, even when we sing in Bambara.”

The compilation also includes two other collaborations from that album, which was certified gold in France and received a Victoire de la Musique award: “Masiteladi” with guest star M, and “Africa” with KNaan. 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, they 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, also on the compilation.

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, dubbed ECLIPSE, was replicated in London and Paris, offering an 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 the compilation’s Deluxe CD edition (and on streaming platforms as of 2022).

Adding to the long list of hit collaborations on the album, 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 compilation: “C’est Chaud” and “Bofou Safou” from their ‘LA CONFUSION’ album (Because) produced by Bon Voyage Organisation in 2017. These 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.

Since then, the couple have continued to tour the globe (China, Lebanon, New Caledonia, Singapore, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Turkey…) and have taken up ever more varied invitations, including one from electronic artists Francis Mercier and Blond:ish on the compilation’s closing track, “Sete”. They 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 have contributed to a number of politically engaged projects, such as “My Sahel”, an initiative to help the Sahel region 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.”

Last but 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 us 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.

The ‘La Vie Est Belle’ greatest hits album 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.


15/6/24           Dumfries & Galloway UK      Eden Festival     

17/6/24           Leadmill, Sheffield          UK      Migration Matters Festival         

12/7/24           London                             UK      Somerset House               

26/7/24           Charlton Park                   UK      WOMAD

Tickets on sale now:

(Cover art for La Vie Est Belle – Best Of  by painter JP Mika)




Tracklist :

  1. Sabali 3.17
  2. Mogolu 3.41
  3. Beaux Dimanches 3.31min
  4. Ce N’est Pas Bon 3.51min
  5. Masiteladi feat M 3.58min
  6. La Vie est Belle 3.12min
  7. La Réalité 3.32
  8. Bofou Safou 3.10
  9. Sénégal Fast Food 4.19
  10. 10.MBife 2.11
  11. 11.Dougou Badia feat Santigold 3.53
  12. 12.Je Pense À Toi (Eclipse Version) 4.43min
  13. 13.Africa feat K’NAAN 3.50
  14. 14.Wily Kataso feat TV On The Radio 4.23
  15. 15.C’est Chaud 3.49
  16. 16.Coulibaly (Akon remix) 3.13
  17. 17.Beaux Dimanches (2024 rework) 3.43

Sete feat Blond:ish, Francis Mercier 3.29