A Quick Chat with Amadou Bagayoko on Their Collaborations and Inspirations

The Figure8 team had a chat with Amadou Bagayoko about some of their collaborations and inspirations behind their music.

This would be your debut in Singapore, what are you most looking forward to?

Indeed, it is our debut in Singapore and we’re really looking forward to it. We are very excited about  meeting our fans and seeing the audience reaction.

The music industry in Mali was not yet developed when you were first starting out, what was the biggest obstacle in your path to becoming a musician in Mali?

Well, recording and distributing music was the biggest obstacle in Mali. Things have changed a lot since then and now everything goes really fast. But still, sometimes we have trouble distributing our music digitally in Mali, due to low internet connections.

What is your creative process like? How are Amadou & Mariam’s songs written?

We work very smoothly together, sometimes I get an idea, start working on the music and share it with Mariam, and sometimes she comes to me with an idea and then we work on the lyrics together… It’s very dynamic and open actually.

You have collaborated with a good selection of musicians, has there been a collaboration that has made a mark on you in particular?

Without any doubts, Manu Chao.

You’ve toured with Scissor Sisters, Coldplay, U2 and many more? What are some of your best memories from those tours?

We have had a lot of good memories from all those tours, we have always felt very welcomed and we’ve always been treated very well.

Your album Folila featured musicians like Santigold, TV on The Radio and Jake Shears. How did these collaborations come about?

Well, we wanted to explore new sounds with different artists for our music, and the producer suggested those names. We started working together and everything was so relaxed and easy, very natural and open.

What inspired the songs in La Confusion?

We were inspired by daily things, from what we listened on the radio, the TV and our friends. This includes the situation in Mali and what’s been happening worldwide. We wanted to deliver a message across through our songs but at the same time, make people dance and enjoy our music.

We love the album, La Confusion. The album offers an insight of the richness and beauty of African music. Which song did you have the most fun creating and why?

Thanks, we’re glad that you liked the album. Well we love all of them, but we had a lot of fun with Bofou Safou and Filaou Bessame. Both of which are very important on the album.

What has been your most memorable show? And why?

We have many in fact, but from recent years, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – where we sang “Africa” and “Welcome To Mali” – could be one.

What’s in the future for Amadou & Mariam?

For the moment we are focused on the live shows but we will soon start working on new collaborations and songs.